POLITICS: Virginia clean energy advocates hope Democrats’ narrow 21-19 state Senate majority can defend against 20-plus Republican measures to weaken or repeal recently passed laws to curb climate emissions and hasten the transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Democrats on a Virginia Senate committee strip former Trump EPA chief Andrew Wheeler from a list of approved hires for Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s cabinet, although Republicans can try to add him back later in the process. (Virginia Mercury)
• U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s 2009 decision as West Virginia governor to classify waste coal as alternative energy kneecapped a law meant to jump-start the state’s transition to renewables, financially benefiting his family business along the way. (E&E News)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority responds to Democrats’ criticism that it’s not doing enough to limit carbon or costs to low-income customers by pledging to limit rate hikes while expanding solar and investigating more nuclear to replace its coal plants. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

EMISSIONS: North Carolina firefighters can’t extinguish a raging fire at a fertilizer plant, largely because legal loopholes allowed it to store 600 tons of explosive ammonium nitrate without a sprinkler system. (N.C. Policy Watch)

SOLAR:
• Rising power bills prompt a regional Florida water authority to consider investing in solar, but solar rate changes being pushed by Florida Power & Light may complicate the move. (Sun Port Charlotte)
• North Carolina climate activists worry that new net metering tariffs from Duke Energy will make home solar inaccessible to low-income people. (Daily Tar Heel)

OIL & GAS:
Natural gas prices spike just ahead of a winter storm forecast to slam the energy powerhouse of Texas. (CNN)
• An Oklahoma town known as the “pipeline crossroads of the world” suggests a hot market as its inventories fall. (Bloomberg)

GRID:
• The South sees a triple whammy of snow, ice and sleet as a massive storm pummels large stretches of the U.S. (CNN)
• Officials at San Antonio’s municipal utility show off roughly $2 million in winterization improvements to city power plants since last year’s winter storm. (San Antonio Report)
• Winter temperatures cause North Carolinians’ power bills to rise while officials review the state’s power grid for vulnerabilities. (Carolina Public Press)

UTILITIES: Appalachian Power asks West Virginia regulators to approve a renewable tariff and rate hike to cover solar and wind power plants in Illinois and Virginia. (WSAZ)

CLIMATE: Florida communities wrestle with managing the high flood risk that comes with rising sea levels. (Tampa Bay Times)

WIND: Louisiana sets a goal of developing 5 GW of offshore wind power by 2035. (ReNews.biz)

COMMENTARY: An environmentalist and North Carolina tribal council member hails Virginia’s passage of a 2020 law to promote environmental justice and the growing willingness of communities at risk to push back against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other fossil fuel projects. (The Nation)

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.