Southeast Energy News is one of five regional services published by the Energy News Network. Today’s edition was compiled by Mason Adams.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Japanese company announces it will build a $2 billion electric vehicle battery factory in Kentucky, even as advocates complain the state has too few charging stations and offers no incentives for buying an electric vehicle or hybrid. (Bowling Green Daily News, Lexington Herald-Leader)

• Hyundai announces it will invest $300 million to add an electric vehicle assembly line at its Alabama plant. (Reuters)
• A Spanish manufacturer of electric vehicle charging equipment begins construction of a new factory in Texas. (InsideEVs)
• A majority Black-run Tennessee town near Ford’s EV megasite spats with state officials over control of town finances. (CBS News)
• Studies indicate a shift from diesel to electric school buses can help reduce exposure to carcinogenic fumes for students in Virginia and elsewhere. (E&E News)

WIND: North Carolina offshore wind advocates anticipate a major federal lease sale this spring could kickstart a billion-dollar industry, but Duke Energy and state regulators are still taking a cautious approach. (E&E News)

TRANSITION: A small West Virginia town ponders its future after the likely sale or closure of its coal-fired power plant next year. (Mountain State Spotlight)

• Facebook’s parent company Meta signs an agreement to purchase power from a 240 MW solar farm to be built in Texas. (Solar Power World)
• A Florida county board approves a second solar project six months after its first, which is still under construction. (DeFuniak Herald)
• Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signs legislation to create a property tax exemption for solar energy systems up to 25 kW. (Solar Power World)

EMISSIONS: The EPA kicks off a process to impose stricter air pollution control measures in Houston and Dallas, and also upgrades San Antonio’s air pollution classification.(Texas Tribune, San Antonio Report)

• High natural gas prices and growing wind power depress gas-fired power demand in Texas to its lowest levels in a decade, even as a nonprofit group finds gas-fired generation peaked in 2020. (S&P Global, Utility Dive)
• Advocates press West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to permanently shore up state funding for oil and gas inspectors after a state agency cut half of its inspection staff in 2020. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

OVERSIGHT: Virginia environmental officials say one of their top priorities is to accelerate the state’s permitting processes. (Virginia Mercury)

• A new study blames toxic silica dust as the main driving force behind a recent epidemic of severe black lung disease among coal miners. (NPR)
• A coal processing company announces it will open a new facility in West Virginia. (WV Metro News)

GRID: Tornadoes and severe storms injure 23 people in Texas and knock out power for more than 40,000 customers across Kentucky and nearby states. (USA Today, Lexington Herald-Leader)

COMMENTARY: Two students at an Arkansas high school call for solar panels to be included in new construction within the school district. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

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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.