CLIMATE: Central Florida is still reeling after two tropical storms last year resulted in unprecedented flooding, leaving local governments racing to implement flood controls and residents worrying they won’t be ready in time for the next hurricane. (WMFE)

GRID:
• Austin, Texas, completed power restoration this weekend to more than 373,000 customers after a winter storm, and now begins cleanup. (Austin American-Statesman)
• North Carolina residents push back against the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plan to build a 27-mile transmission line. (Cherokee Scout, subscription)
• Federal officials award $137.2 million to three rural Arkansas electric cooperatives to replace aging infrastructure and reduce outage times. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
• Tennessee lawmakers consider calling on the Tennessee Valley Authority to be better prepared after December’s cold snap resulted in rolling blackouts across the Southeast. (WSMV)
• A Texas commission calls for increased funding for utility regulators to ensure grid reliability. (KXAN)

EMISSIONS:
• Texas is investigating why a pipeline company failed to report the release of a large cloud of methane near one of its Permian Basin compressor stations. (Bloomberg)
• Virginia lawmakers in the Democratic-majority Senate defeat the last surviving Republican bill that would roll back a law tying the state to California emissions standards and banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035. (Virginia Mercury)

SOLAR: A group of companies collaborate to finance construction of a 10 MW solar farm in Texas. (San Antonio Express-News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Georgia lawmakers advance legislation to require utilities and retailers that build electric vehicle charging stations to charge EV owners by the kilowatt hour, not the length of the time they’re plugged in. (Capitol Beat News Service)

OIL & GAS: An energy company breaks ground on a 700 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Louisiana, fueling criticism from environmentalists. (The Advocate)

COAL:
• West Virginia lawmakers advance a bill to require utilities to get regulatory approval before they decommission or demolish coal-fired power plants. (WV Metro News)
Duke Energy officials investigate the cause of a fire at a western North Carolina coal plant. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription; WSPA)

OVERSIGHT:
• The new head of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sees potential for both offshore wind and additional oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (Bloomberg)
• A former utility commissioner in Memphis, Tennessee, is hired to lead a public utility in Arkansas. (MySaline)

POLITICS: Virginia lawmakers reject a bill to create a nuclear reactor revenue-sharing agreement, but advance another to add coal mine methane to a list of alternative energy sources that qualify for a green job creation tax credit. (Cardinal News)

COMMENTARY:
• A Virginia lawmaker argues state regulators should be given more power to oversee utilities and keep their rates low. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• Virginia should add more guardrails to protect residents as new data centers reject clean energy for diesel, writes an energy columnist. (Virginia Mercury)

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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.