GRID: A massive winter storm spawns a tornado in Alabama, causes “exploding trees” in Texas, and leaves 130,000 Tennessee homes and businesses — and more than 350,000 across the country — without power. (KXAS, NBC News, Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state’s standalone grid is “performing very well” despite 70,000 Texans experiencing outages at the time. (KXAN)
• Texas power grid leaders say they expect to see electricity demand spike today but don’t expect systemwide blackouts. (Texas Tribune)
• A news investigation shows that while Texas regulators claim 98% of the state’s natural gas facilities have been winterized, just what that means varies widely between facilities. (KXAS)

PIPELINES: A federal appeals court throws out another permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline after finding “serious errors” with a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service opinion that construction of the project would not jeopardize endangered species. (Roanoke Times, Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
Oil companies in Texas’ Permian Basin and elsewhere hold back on increasing production, suggesting the era in which U.S. shale companies could quickly flood the world with oil is receding. (Wall Street Journal)
• Texas is eligible to receive $343 million from the infrastructure package to clean up an estimated 7,000 abandoned oil and gas wells across the state. (Spectrum News)
• Oklahoma’s attorney general walks back a threat to sue natural gas companies over accusations of price gouging during last year’s winter storm after determining market-driven gas prices aren’t covered by a state law. (Tulsa World)

SOLAR:
• Florida Power & Light begins operations at eight solar centers totalling 596 MW, while pressing for passage of state legislation to lower the amount it’s required to pay rooftop solar homeowners for excess power. (Daily Energy Insider, WCJB)
• The sponsor of a utility-backed Florida bill to slash financial incentives and add fees for new home rooftop solar systems tries to soften opposition with an amendment to allow current solar users to retain their incentives for 20 more years. (Tampa Bay Times)

WIND:
• North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says a state task force dedicated to boosting wind power must work quickly to help the state reap industry benefits. (Associated Press)
• Duke Energy, Ørsted and other prominent energy companies signal interest in participating in a federal auction to build wind turbines in a 127,865-acre space off North Carolina’s coast. (Wilmington Biz)

STORAGE: Tesla announces it will use 81 Megapacks to provide 200 MW to the grid during this week’s winter storm. (CleanTechnica)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Proposals to accelerate the buildout of electric vehicle charging stations in Virginia pick up some bipartisan support behind the idea of developing more EV infrastructure in rural areas. (Virginia Mercury)

EMISSIONS: North Carolina regulators say transportation has overtaken electricity generation as the state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. (Blue Ridge Public Radio)

UTILITIES: Georgia Power’s plan to shut five of its nine remaining coal-burning units at three plants by 2028 sets off a domino effect as officials look for new power sources and affected communities prepare for job losses. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

COMMENTARY: Texas Gov. Abbott’s shift from guaranteeing “the lights will stay on” to saying that “no one can guarantee” there won’t be blackouts indicates his perilous political position as a winter storm wracks the Texas grid, writes an editorial board. (Houston Chronicle)

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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.