SOLAR: A Virginia workforce program offers free solar training to ensure Black residents and other marginalized communities aren’t left behind as renewable energy booms. (Energy News Network)

• Developers propose 125 MW and 60 MW solar projects for a southern Virginia county. (Danville Register & Bee)
• A West Virginia company known for its work in the coal sector partners with a renewables firm to seek solar generation opportunities, largely on still-to-be-reclaimed mountaintop removal mines. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• A Florida solar company owner says legislation to dramatically cut back reimbursement credits for rooftop solar will destroy the home solar power industry. (WTVT)

POLITICS: Democrats in the Virginia Senate say they have the votes to reject the Republican governor’s nomination of former Trump EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to his cabinet. (HuffPost)

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: A historically Black West Virginia community raises concerns over a federal reassessment that identified cancer risks from ethylene oxide emissions from a nearby chemical plant. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

CLIMATE: Kentucky activists who successfully pushed Louisville to commit to making city operations 100% renewable by 2035 take aim at the city’s electric utility, which has said it plans to burn coal and natural gas for the foreseeable future. (WFPL)

• A company’s plan to sell its Houston oil refinery could be delayed as sellers have withdrawn other refineries from the market for lack of buyers and plans to convert them to other uses. (Reuters)
• West Virginia will receive up to $25 million from the federal infrastructure package to plug orphan gas and oil wells. (WV Metro News)
• The United Steelworkers Union and oil companies accelerate talks ahead of a Feb. 1 deadline to replace a national contract for refinery and chemical plant workers. (Reuters)

• Oklahoma hires its first state automotive director to lead its efforts to attract manufacturers investing in building electric vehicles. (Tulsa World)
Federal lawmakers who back the petroleum and biofuel industries, which usually act as rivals, come together to fight the Biden administration’s efforts to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles. (Bloomberg)

NUCLEAR: Identical bills to lift a prohibition on nuclear power plant construction move closure to passage in the West Virginia legislature. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

Alabama coal miners persist 10 months into a strike despite the use of strikebreakers and injunctions to limit picketing. (Guardian)
• West Virginia lawmakers create a committee to develop policy proposals to revitalize communities left reeling by the coal industry’s decline. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

UTILITIES: A dispute over whether Duke Energy’s Florida customers should be required to pay $7.2 million to recover costs from a coal plant’s outage last year is headed to the state Supreme Court. (WPEC)

HYDRO: Federal officials award a Kentucky dam $202 million to replace 10 spillway gates damaged in a 2019 storm. (Commonwealth Journal)

BIOGAS: The EPA will investigate whether North Carolina’s 2019 decision to allow four hog farms to generate biogas from waste lagoons violated the civil rights of largely Black and Latino neighborhoods nearby. (Inside Climate News)

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.