COAL: West Virginia regulators consider whether to approve $443.8 million of wastewater improvements that would increase power rates and extend the lifespan of three coal-fired power plants from 2028 to 2040. (Charleston Gazette-Mail, WV Metro News)

ALSO: Community and student activists protest the University of North Carolina’s coal plant. (Daily Tarheel)

GRID:
• Federal regulators put the blame for Texas’ widespread February blackouts on lax energy regulations and the failure of the state’s natural gas system — not renewables as many Republicans claimed. (Houston Chronicle)
• In the days following Hurricane Ida, the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association transformed a former hub for an oil field manufacturer into a tent city for line workers from across the country who were restoring power. (Associated Press) 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Alabama electric vehicle drivers and curious observers converge around EV events that began this weekend and continue until next. (AL.com)

OIL & GAS:
• Environmental advocates call for a public hearing on and tighter scrutiny of Entergy’s proposal to build a mostly natural gas-burning plant in southeast Texas. (Beaumont Enterprise)
• A central Virginia gas company raises rates 15% to cover a nationwide increase in the cost of natural gas. (WRIC)

SOLAR:
• A company building western Virginia’s largest solar farm requests changes to its special use permit to incorporate improvements recommended by developers. (Roanoke Times)
• Arkansas regulators approve a net-metering solar facility that, combined with a previous array, will provide 90% of a county government’s energy needs. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
• A solar developer begins construction of an 80 MW solar farm in Texas. (Renewables Now)
• A Florida Congress member introduces a bill to spend $3.5 billion over five years to build up the solar component manufacturing sector. (Florida Daily)

UTILITIES: Oklahoma utilities consider moving away from paying daily spot prices for fuel to monthly fixed rates that could protect customers from astronomical price spikes seen in recent extreme weather events. (Oklahoman)

WIND: Ten advocacy groups form a coalition to lobby for the development of wind power off the North Carolina coast. (Blue Ridge Public Radio)

COMMENTARY:
• Electric vehicles have developed to the point where they are viable for rural drivers with longer than average commutes, writes the director of energy solutions and clean energy for a Virginia electric cooperative. (Energy News Network)
• Texas leaders extol free markets and limited regulation but have yet to reckon with the bureaucracy and restraints around its wholesale market and grid manager that will result in higher bills for ratepayers, writes a University of Houston lecturer. (Dallas Morning News)
• Southeastern utility giant Entergy holds the advantage in an ongoing dispute with New Orleans after Hurricane Ida, while coronavirus and climate change combine to undermine the economy and population of southern Louisiana, writes a columnist. (NOLA.com)
• West Virginia regulators should deny a request to prolong the life of three coal-fired power plants and instead move to more sustainable power sources, writes an editorial board. (Beckley Register-Herald)

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.