FINANCE: A new manager at Virginia’s energy agency will help localities navigate the setup of green banks to accelerate and expand clean energy projects by leveraging limited public dollars to attract private capital. (Energy News Network)

BIOGAS: North Carolina communities respond to the passage of a state farm bill with a revamped permitting process to fast-track biogas projects that capture methane from industrialized hog farms. (NC Policy Watch)

OIL & GAS:
• Lawmakers and regulators in Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Midwest explore regulatory changes after residents rack up billions of dollars in natural-gas bills due to a price surge stemming from Texas’ February blackouts. (Wall Street Journal, subscription)
• A Louisiana refinery considers converting an idled refinery unit into a renewable diesel production complex. (KADN)

PIPELINES:
• Activists and Memphis residents ask the city council to pass an ordinance to protect drinking water that could stop the Byhalia Connection Pipeline. (WHBQ)
• Virginia agencies navigate a return to in-person meetings, including a State Air Pollution Control Board meeting with expected high public turnout as it weighs a permit connected to the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Virginia Mercury)

GRID:
• Texas water systems must devise emergency plans for long power outages as part of new legislation to reinforce the grid, after water providers for nearly two-thirds of the state were affected by February’s winter storm. (Houston Chronicle)
• A survey of Texas voters shows they want the state’s electric grid to be winterized, but doubt new legislation passed this year will make it happen. (University of Houston)
• A Tennessee utility breaks ground on a substation for a Tennessee Valley Authority initiative to boost the grid around a growing city. (Bristol Herald-Courier)
• Florida Power & Light plans to move power lines underground in a Florida city. (Sebastian Daily)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: New electric vehicles proliferate across eastern Tennessee as public and private institutions and businesses install new chargers. (Kingsport Times News)

SOLAR:
• Virginia farmers discuss how solar development affects the viability of agricultural land and how landowners can protect themselves in lease agreements. (Emporia Independent-Messenger)
• Arkansas energy providers celebrate the completion of 2.7 MW and 850 kW solar projects. (Talk Business & Politics)

RENEWABLES: Entergy Arkansas seeks proposals for up to 300 MW of solar and wind capacity to be added by 2026. (Magnolia Reporter)

COAL:
• A report finds that West Virginia’s coal production has dropped by more than 50% over 10 years, but the industry still directly employs more than 13,000 workers and produces 90% of electricity within the state. (WV News)
• West Virginians celebrate the history and heritage of coal while acknowledging that jobs within the industry are disappearing amid a shift to cleaner energy sources. (WBOY)
• A congressional panel will scrutinize a Puerto Rico power plant whose struggles with coal ash disposal, including a major spill, have attracted public attention. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY:
• Congress should use a pending infrastructure package to fund bold and comprehensive investments in coal communities to build a new economy that helps mitigate climate change, writes the director of a community revitalization group. (Huntington Herald-Dispatch)
• Appalachian Power plans to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, but the transition will take decades as the utility gradually expands renewables and retires coal, writes its president and COO. (Roanoke 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.