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UTILITIES: Internal documents and public records reveal a consulting firm working with Florida Power & Light and Alabama Power paid six news outlets about $900,000 for positive coverage that benefited the power companies and attacked their critics. (Floodlight/NPR)

OVERSIGHT: Google and other tech companies call for the Southeast to reform its utility-based power generation system to unleash more renewables as a growing number of large companies make decarbonization a major corporate goal. (New York Times)

SOLAR: A Virginia work group convened to develop new regulations for the siting of solar projects on farm and forest lands delivers a 717-page report with  41 proposals, but little consensus on which should be adopted. (Virginia Mercury)

CARBON CAPTURE: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defends the more than $20 billion of planned carbon capture projects in the state, but acknowledges the companies behind them should do more to address public concerns. (Greater Baton Rouge Business Report)

COAL: The Tennessee Valley Authority asks Tennessee regulators for permission to release more pollutants into the Clinch River from a coal plant scheduled for closure next year. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

• As observers forecast cold weather that will test the Texas power grid, officials advise state residents to prepare. (Houston Chronicle)
Texas’ grid manager touts reforms and weatherization improvements implemented since last year’s winter storm caused widespread outages, while utilities in neighboring Louisiana also say they’re ready for cold weather this weekend. (KPRC, WVUE)
• A Texas power company will complete construction of two new electrical substations before the end of the year, and plans more substations and power lines in 2023. (Amarillo Globe-News)
• Entergy files a plan with Louisiana regulators for $9.6 billion in grid hardening and resilience projects over 10 years. (news release)

• Federal officials cite a Tesla supplier that makes doors for electric vehicles in Texas for failure to adequately report worker safety concerns. (Houston Chronicle)
• Construction continues on a Kentucky electric vehicle battery manufacturing complex. (WAVE)

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves permits for a $2.5 billion Louisiana sediment diversion project to use the Mississippi River to create 21 square miles of wetlands by 2070. (NOLA.com)
• Demand surges for large wastewater pumps to keep South Florida habitable as seas rise and climate change exacerbates storms. (WLRN)

• A provision to force completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline remains a sticking point in U.S. Joe Manchin’s proposed energy permitting reform, which will re-emerge after a new Congress is seated in 2023. (Associated Press)
• Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed state budget includes a $200 million deposit into a revolving loan fund for flood projects to replace money that would be lost if he’s successful in his attempts to withdraw the state from a regional carbon trading market. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: West Virginia gains four spots in a national energy efficiency ranking, moving to 44th from 48th in 2020. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

• Growing water shortages prompt West Texas frackers to repurpose wastewater from oil and gas wells instead of reinjecting it into the ground. (Inside Climate News)
• A family-owned wholesale fuel distributor in Virginia acquires an oil company. (Lynchburg News & Advance)

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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.