CLIMATE: Hurricane Idalia rapidly intensifies as it passes over some of the hottest water on Earth and becomes a Category 4 hurricane ahead of its landfall in Florida. (WTVT, Associated Press, New York Times)

• The energy industry prepares for Hurricane Idalia, staging utility workers to respond and taking precautions around offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. (S&P Global, Reuters)
West Virginia residents begin cleanup after heavy rain leads to flooding that damages about 100 homes. (West Virginia Watch, Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Texas’ electric grid manager issued yet another conservation warning due to a high level of unexpected outages from natural gas and coal plants and projected low wind generation. (Houston Chronicle)
Alabama utility workers travel to Florida and Georgia in anticipation of power restoration and cleanup resulting from Hurricane Idalia. (

WIND: A federal auction for rights to develop offshore wind in three areas in the Gulf of Mexico receives mediocre response with a high bid of $5.6 million for the area off Louisiana, while two areas off Texas did not receive bids. (Reuters, Texas Tribune)

• Enel North America plans to begin construction of a solar cell and panel manufacturing facility in Oklahoma by the end of 2023. (Journal Record)
• Microsoft invests in a 6.6 MW solar farm in Mississippi. (Magnolia State Live)
• A coalition of urban Texas counties applies to a U.S. EPA grant program with the goal of providing solar power to low-income and disadvantaged communities. (Fort Worth Report)

• A South Korean electric vehicle parts supplier announces plans to build a $72 million factory in Georgia. (Associated Press)
• A company that plans to build a $3.5 billion battery recycling facility in South Carolina has raised $1 billion toward finding a domestic source of a critical mineral. (Charleston Post & Courier, subscription)
• Texas prepares to implement an annual $200 registration fee on electric vehicles intended to replace lost gas tax revenue. (KWKT)
• An Alabama community college installs a new electric vehicle charger on campus. (Jackson County Sentinel)

CRYPTOCURRENCY: Kentucky regulators deny electricity discounts offered by Kentucky Power to a proposed cryptocurrency operation. (Kentucky Lantern)

• Virginia regulators proceed with a pilot program to allow a coal producer to test fish tissue to monitor for selenium discharges in nearby waterways. (Virginia Mercury)
• Virginia awards more than $4 million to rehabilitate two coal sites for light manufacturing and to store grains to be used in craft beverages. (Bristol Herald Courier)

POLITICS: After years of discomfort with the term, Republican Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has begun using “climate change” more frequently. (Florida Politics)

• A recent fish kill resulting from a dust suppressant spill at a coal mine is a black eye for an industry already under scrutiny, writes an editorial board. (Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
• A recent study suggesting the Appalachian counties that produce the most natural gas saw greater-than-average population loss shows the need for more economic diversification, writes an editorial board. (Beckley Register-Herald)

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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.