SOLAR: Advocates press a Virginia county to streamline its permitting process for rooftop solar after a balky application website, high fees and nitpicky plan reviews slow installations and lead some companies to stop doing business there. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• A federal study suggests Puerto Rico install solar panels at airports, brownfields and industrial areas to shore up its grid and transition to clean energy. (Associated Press)
• A $2.3 million federal grant will fund a solar “testbed” in West Virginia that will be used to study solar battery storage, grid integration and cybersecurity. (WBOY)
• A 140 MW solar farm begins operations in Texas. (Solar Power World)
• An Arkansas school district commissions a 512 kW solar array. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
• A Virginia county board invites public input on its consideration of a new ordinance to regulate utility-scale solar development. (news release)

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GRID:
• Texas regulators’ approval of a plan to pay for extra power capacity and incentivize construction of more natural gas plants clouds the future of renewables, and critics say customers will bear the cost. (E&E News, Spectrum News)
• Amazon announces it will spend $35 billion over 20 years to build more data centers in Virginia, boosting jobs and residents’ concerns over construction of new transmission lines needed to power them. (Washington Post)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric vehicle maker Rivian places a solar-powered EV charger in Tennessee. (Electrek)

COAL:
• San Antonio, Texas’, municipal utility board votes to transition from coal-fired power, with plans to convert one unit of a coal plant to natural gas by 2027 and close the other in 2028. (San Antonio Report)
•  A coal mining company and one of its employees reverse course and signal they plan to plead guilty to a scheme to falsify coal dust data in Kentucky. (Mountain Top Media)

OIL & GAS: A new report by Texas’ oil and gas association shows the industry paid $24.7 billion in taxes and royalties in fiscal ‘22, the highest total in its history. (KVUE)

CLIMATE: A Texas city council considers whether to break a proposed city charter to promote solar power and other climate-friendly policies into multiple ballot measures, which advocates say will only confuse voters. (El Paso Times)

BIOMASS: A wood pellet manufacturer announces a $50 million expansion at its Alabama plant. (Biomass Magazine)

POLITICS:
• Texas and 23 other Republican led states coordinate with conservative think tanks and fossil fuel groups to pressure investment firms to abandon social and climate-friendly goals. (S&P Global)
• A study finds fossil fuel companies are spending money on social media and targeted media operations to promote climate denialism and hide their operations’ environmental harms. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY:
• Kentucky’s push against investment firms with climate goals runs counter to its embrace of a large steel factory that aims to supply the domestic offshore wind industry, writes a columnist. (CleanTechnica)
• Virginia should resist Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s push to remove the state from a regional carbon market because it has significantly boosted flood reduction efforts, writes an environmental advocate. (Virginian-Pilot)

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Mason Adams

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.