UTILITIES: Virginia regulators approve a deal to provide $330 million in refunds to Dominion Energy customers because of the utility’s $1.1 billion excess earnings between 2017 and 2020, although the utility still gets to keep most of that profit for new clean energy projects. (Virginia Mercury, Associated Press, Richmond Times-Dispatch)

GRID: The U.S. grid monitor says Texas could see a nearly 40% shortfall in available power to meet demand in the event of another severe winter storm, despite new winterization requirements for power plants and gas producers. (Associated Press)

WIND:
• Duke Energy’s CEO says the utility may pursue a wind lease off the North Carolina shore.  (WFAE)
• A group of American ship operators complain about a foreign vessel working on Virginia’s offshore wind development project as a sign the wind industry might veer from its promise to buoy domestic workers. (Virginia Mercury)

COAL:
• Employment in Kentucky’s Appalachian coalfield grew 18% from 2020 as a result of higher natural gas prices and pandemic recovery. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• West Virginia coal production is up nearly 20% from last year, but experts predict the uptick will be short-lived as coal-fired power plants in three nearby states prepare to close next year. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

SOLAR: A NextEra solar farm in Tennessee that will support a Facebook data center nears completion. (WHNT)

NUCLEAR:
• Federal regulators deny an appeal by Southern Co. and affirm the need for greater scrutiny of construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle after an inspection found electrical cables were not properly separated. (Associated Press)
• A Georgia regulator says he believes the delays and cost overruns at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle will be worth it once the reactors finally come online. (WSAV)
• Southern Co. agrees to design and build an advanced demonstration nuclear reactor at Idaho National Laboratory using technology developed by a Bill Gates-backed company. (Power)

OIL & GAS:
• Louisiana residents express concern about how hydraulic fracking increasingly allows gas companies to drill on smaller pieces of land in populated areas. (KTBS)
• The Permian Basin sees 12 oil rigs added over the last week to reach its highest count since the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. (S&P Global)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The University of Arkansas takes the first steps to build a prototyping and fabrication facility for silicon carbide, used when designing electric vehicle components. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

BIOFUELS:
• A renewable gas company announces plans to build a facility in Texas to use wood pulp and organic waste to produce crude feedstock gases for renewable gasoline or hydrogen. (Beaumont Enterprise)
• A Kentucky company uses waste stillage from bourbon production to extract a low-calorie sweetener and turn what remains into activated carbon that can be used in batteries. (Spectrum News)

POLITICS: U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi introduces legislation to prod the Biden administration to restart oil and gas leasing while also stepping up wind, solar and geothermal energy development. (Delta Democrat-Times)

Mason Adams

Mason has worked as a journalist since 2001, covering Appalachian communities and the issues that affect them. He compiles the Southeast Energy News digest. Mason previously worked as a wildlife biologist before moving into journalism by freelancing at Coast Weekly in Monterey, California, before taking an internship in 2001 at High Country News. He wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, WVPB’s Inside Appalachia and elsewhere. Mason was born and raised in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and now lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia.