SOLAR: Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for new solar capacity installed in the first quarter of 2021, reflecting new policies and attitudes enabled by a landmark energy bill passed last year. (Energy News Network)

• Appalachian Power negotiates a deal with Virginia public entities to reflect more generous parameters for net metering and third-party power purchase agreements allowed by state law. (Energy News Network)
• Houston’s solar capacity more than quadrupled from 9.5 MW to 42.5 MW over the past two years as homeowners installed rooftop arrays. (Houston Public Media)
• An Arkansas researcher says solar energy and net metering provide significant benefits for farmers in the energy-intensive business of raising chickens. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

• Texas’ grid manager requests state residents conserve energy to avoid overwhelming the grid after a significant number of power plants go offline for maintenance. (Associated Press, KXAS)
• The state’s request to conserve energy and fears of more widespread power outages are driving demand for generators. (KXAS)
• Texas energy experts say new laws passed to shore up the state’s electric grid after February’s storm-related outages made improvements but still left much undone. (Texas Monthly)

• A Connecticut investment firm’s proposal to build 11 natural gas “peaker plants” across Texas stalls as the state experiences a heat wave that tests its grid reliability. (Reuters)
• Decades of fracking development has brought heavy industry into many rural and urban communities in Texas and elsewhere. (Reveal/Mother Jones)
• Oklahoma shale driller Chesapeake sees three corporate executives depart just months after it emerged from bankruptcy. (E&E News, subscription)

• Heavy rain overwhelms erosion control measures along the Mountain Valley Pipeline and exacerbates concerns about its construction. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Louisiana’s gas industry presses for legislation to loosen requirements around reporting pipeline leaks. (Louisiana Illuminator)

• The first two turbines in Dominion Energy’s wind farm off Virginia’s coast begin producing energy. (WAVY)
• Texas researchers tout offshore renewable energy platforms that could include wind turbines, wave energy converters, tidal energy converters and solar power. (KBTX)

COAL ASH: An internal email from state conservation officials reveals that at least 9,300 tons of coal ash have spilled from a leaking barge that’s been stuck off Florida’s coast for two months. (WJXT)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia partners with an Alaska Republican to introduce a bill to establish a revolving loan fund program for energy efficiency improvements. (E&E News, subscription)

NUCLEAR: The federal investigation of a failed South Carolina nuclear plant appears likely to continue, even after a third person pleads guilty in the debacle. (Engineering News-Record)

UTILITIES: The Southern Environmental Law Center presses the Tennessee Valley Authority to shift from coal and natural gas plants to solar power, onshore wind, battery storage and more energy efficiency. (Leaf Chronicle)

ACTIVISM: A Louisiana woman who fought the opening of a chemical plant is the North American winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize. (Louisiana Illuminator)

• Florida should appoint a single individual to coordinate the state’s efforts to build resilience against climate change, writes a conservationist. (Tampa Bay Times)
• As West Virginia increasingly moves to transition away from coal, its remaining miners carry out dangerous work as seen in the deaths of two men earlier this month, writes an editorial board. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

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.