EFFICIENCY: After years of lagging, North Carolina looks set to make a huge leap to align its building code with international energy conservation guidelines. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: North Carolina officials release a report finding the state’s existing policies get the state only 60% of the way toward its 2050 net-zero emissions goal, and calls for more auto and building electrification. (Associated Press)

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SOLAR:
• The Tennessee Valley Authority signs a power-purchase agreement for 160 MW of solar power from four projects as part of its plan to buy or build 10,000 MW of solar generation over the next decade. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• A 263 MW Texas solar farm begins generating power. (ReNews)
• An energy company asks for a delay in consideration of a proposed 5 MW solar farm on a former Virginia plantation after the county planning board votes against it. (Roanoke Times)
• A Virginia planning commission considers a permit for a utility-scale solar farm on 1,555 acres. (Chatham Star-Tribune)

WIND: The Biden administration delays the first auction of wind energy lease areas in the Gulf of Mexico by at least six months to fast-track more oil and gas drilling. (NOLA.com)

GRID:
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott again faces questions about the reliability of the state power grid after 400,000 homes lost power during last week’s winter storm. (Newsweek)
• Austin, Texas, utility officials say last week’s winter storm caused more local damage and 10 times the number of service calls as the 2021 storm that nearly broke the state power grid, while fewer than 30,000 homes and businesses still don’t have power. (KXAN, Texas Tribune)

OIL & GAS: Texas residents fight the proposed Rio Grande liquified natural gas export terminal and a related carbon capture project they dismiss as “greenwash.” (Texas Public Radio)

STORAGE: West Virginia lawmakers will review $105 million to support a planned battery factory in the northern panhandle. (WV Metro News)

CLIMATE:
• A federal watchdog finds the Tennessee Valley Authority is increasingly hampered by extreme weather events and should take more action to boost reliability in a changing climate. (AL.com)
• The first year of Louisiana’s climate action plan is marked by 3 GW of new solar facilities and more than $21 billion in carbon reduction projects. (The Advocate)

COAL:
• Employees of a West Virginia coal plant slated for closure in May lobby to find a new buyer to keep the aging facility open. (WV Metro News)
• A federal court finds Kentucky’s severance tax discount for coal producers unconstitutionally discriminates against interstate commerce. (Bloomberg Law, subscription)

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POLITICS:
• Virginia lawmakers tweak utility reform legislation to strip a provision that affects allowable profit, but leave another that could delay coal plant retirements. (Virginia Mercury)
• Kentucky lawmakers discount testimony about natural gas failures and a shortage of power to instead blame December’s blackouts on the transition from coal to renewables. (WKYU)
• A Virginia county considers an energy ordinance to limit utility-scale energy development to 10% of its land. (Smithfield Times)

COMMENTARY: Texas is well-positioned to tap into vast quantities of geothermal power, but will need to rely on technology the state’s oil and gas industry may not be willing to share, writes an energy columnist. (Houston Chronicle)

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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.