NUCLEAR: After seven years of delays and $21 billion in cost overruns, the first of two new units at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle enters commercial service and becomes the first new U.S. nuclear reactor to do so in more than 30 years. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ALSO: As the Plant Vogtle expansion nears its conclusion, Georgia Power’s parent Southern Company breathes a sigh of relief as it looks to clear penalties from delays, cost overruns and years of uncertainty from its balance sheet. (S&P Global)

EMISSIONS: As Virginia officials move to withdraw from a regional carbon market by the end of the year, environmental groups announce they’ll sue to block the process. (Virginia Mercury, Washington Post)

TRANSITION: Kentucky utilities hold the first of five public meetings on their $2 billion plan to replace four aging coal-fired units with natural gas, solar and storage. (WDKY)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: An Arkansas transportation company adds 10 battery-electric and three hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to its fleet. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

STORAGE: A startup consisting of former Tesla employees offers to pay battery owners for the right to bid their storage capacity into Texas’ often volatile wholesale markets. (Canary Media)

• A buildup of Texas solar is pushing the grid through record-breaking demand this summer, providing roughly 15% of its power during the day when air conditioner use in homes and businesses spikes. (KXAS)
• San Antonio, Texas’ municipal utility will issue proposals to build up to 50 MW of additional community solar by the end of August, a significant increase to its current community solar capacity of just 6 MW. (San Antonio Report)

OIL & GAS: Oil and gas companies in the Permian Basin say they plan to increase production. (Carlsbad Current Argus)

• The chief heat officer in Florida’s Miami-Dade County warns of the dangers of record-breaking summer temperatures, especially for the elderly, young children, pregnant women and outdoor workers. (Inside Climate News)
• Record-breaking Florida heat leaves hundreds of people unable to pay for their electric service, leading to a three-fold increase in demand for a program that helps people pay their bills. (WTSP)

INSURANCE: Federal officials’ new model for calculating flood insurance rates results in higher costs for Virginians in flood-prone areas, and a multi-state lawsuit that includes the state attorney general. (Virginia Mercury)

BUILDINGS: A developer uses Energy Star appliances, solar power and advanced framing techniques to build North Carolina’s first net-zero community. (WTVD)

WORKFORCE: A North Carolina Coast Guard veteran trains workers, especially other veterans, for jobs on solar farm construction sites. (Yale Climate Connections)

UTILITIES: Austin, Texas’ municipal utility has already exceeded its target for expanding a program to assist customers in paying bills and weatherizing their homes. (Austin Monitor)

COMMENTARY: The success of the Texas grid in withstanding high temperatures so far this summer shows the state’s success in balancing oil production with solar and wind development, writes an official at a conservative environmental group. (Dallas Morning News)

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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.