TEXAS: An independent watchdog firm hired by the state says Texas’ grid manager overcharged power companies by $16 billion over two days during last month’s storm-driven energy crisis. (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• Fallout from last month’s storm continues as power companies see $47 billion in related costs, much of which will likely be passed on to customers. (Reuters)
• Texas’ attorney general sues a power company for allegedly deceiving customers with promises of inexpensive, “wholesale” electricity that skyrocketed during last month’s crisis. (Gizmodo)
• Texas must winterize its energy infrastructure or connect its electrical grid to avoid another major incident, experts say. (Reuters)
• One in four Texas power plants that were spot-checked by the state grid manager didn’t meet winterization recommendations. (KXAS)

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EFFICIENCY: The nonprofit responsible for developing model building energy codes used by cities and states nationwide finalizes a controversial plan to strip voting rights from thousands of public sector members — a move clean energy advocates fear will slow progress on energy efficiency. (Energy News Network)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A Korean electric-vehicle battery maker with a Georgia factory is scolded by an international commission for destroying evidence that it stole trade secrets from a rival company. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• The electric utility in El Paso, Texas, partners with General Motors to offer customers discounts on electric vehicles. (KTSM)

COAL: West Virginia lawmakers consider a bill to prop up the coal industry by requiring in-state power producers to maintain 2019 coal consumption levels. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

SOLAR:
• Facebook adds a 150 MW Mississippi solar farm to its fleet of solar plants that power two data centers in the Tennessee Valley. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• Small-scale solar capacity grew 63% in Texas and 57% in Florida last year. (CleanTechnica)
• With the addition of a solar farm last summer, an Arkansas city now sources 70% of its power from renewables. (Booneville Democrat)

OIL & GAS:
• The CEO of a Permian Basin oil producer says she doesn’t foresee the industry returning to pre-pandemic production levels. (CNBC)
• Louisiana’s attorney general signs off on a settlement between an oil company and coastal parishes that alleged it caused environmental damage. (The Center Square)

UTILITIES: Florida regulators approve Gulf Power’s requests to recover costs from Hurricane Sally and to reduce a charge due to the early retirement of a coal plant. (Daily Energy Insider)

ADVOCACY: The North Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance and South Carolina Solar Business Alliance merge to focus on energy issues in both states. (Charlotte Business Journal)

COMMENTARY:
• As the energy landscape shifts dramatically, Texas must reconsider its reliance on the oil and natural gas industries to fund public education, writes a newspaper editorial board. (Beaumont Enterprise)
• A newspaper editorial calls on a railroad to distance tanker cars containing petroleum and other chemicals from a residential neighborhood. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)
• West Virginia lawmakers should establish and fund a solar power tax credit to defray installation costs for homeowners, writes a columnist. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

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.