OIL & GAS: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy lobbies Texas lawmakers on its plan to spend more than $8 billion to build 10 new natural gas power plants, funded in part by an additional charge on customers’ bills. (Texas Tribune) 

ALSO: A columnist with ties to the natural gas industry has become an influential voice in newspapers throughout West Virginia, the Ohio Valley and the nation, shaping public opinion around fracking. (New Republic)

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COAL:
• Blackjewel’s bankruptcy settlement leaves the company’s former Virginia mines in limbo, stuck without buyers or locked in a dispute between two companies that each claim the other is the owner. (Virginia Mercury)
• A federal program to fund and restore environmental damage from pre-1977 coal mines could expire in September unless Congress moves to continue it. (WV News)

NUCLEAR: The president of the Tennessee Valley Authority tells a U.S. Senate panel that the utility expects to build new small modular reactors in eastern Tennessee and refurbish its old fleet of seven reactors, even though it hasn’t started a new plant in nearly 50 years. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

GRID:
• The number of people reported dead after last month’s winter storm and outages has more than doubled the initial count to 111, according to a Texas agency. (CNN)
• Texas’ grid operator reassures state residents that there’s little risk of summer power outages, although its poor record during last month’s freeze leads to skepticism. (Austin American-Statesman)
• Texas lawmakers advance one bill to mandate weatherization for natural gas and power generators, and another to reform the state’s utility regulation commission. (The Eagle, Houston Chronicle)
• The mayor of Houston and a Texas congressman feud over different opinions on what happened in last month’s power outages and their personal relationship. (Houston Chronicle)
• A news investigation finds that one in five Texas power plants that failed in last month’s freeze also failed in a 2011 storm that many have pointed to as a warning. (WFAA)

SOLAR: The Tennessee Valley Authority plans to build a Kentucky solar plant with battery storage to power a Facebook data center and General Motors factory. (news release)

UTILITIES: Regulators in North Carolina and South Carolina review Duke Energy’s long-term plans to reduce carbon emissions while effectively serving more than 4 million customers between the two states. (Daily Energy Insider)

BIOMASS: The growing biomass industry is becoming an economic force in the Southeast but still faces skepticism from federal regulators and the Biden administration. (Politico Magazine)

PIPELINES: A judge denies bond for the first of two tree-sitters arrested after defying a November order to stop blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Roanoke Times)

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RENEWABLES: A steel manufacturer will build a Kentucky plant to make tubing for construction, infrastructure and renewable energy projects. (Associated Press) 

COMMENTARY:
• A regional clean energy group reviews the energy policies and positions of the two candidates running for mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in a runoff election. (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy)
• A climate advocate complains she can’t purchase an electric car in Florida because most models are being shipped to California and other places with plans to phase out gasoline cars. (Gainesville Sun)
• Journalists investigating utilities play an important role in holding wide-ranging, often opaque entities to public account, writes an investigative editor. (ProPublica)

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.