OVERSIGHT: Louisiana Democrats criticize the state party for taking more than $90,000 from utilities, alleging the party used the funds to meddle in two regulatory board races and implicitly back a fossil fuel-supporting incumbent who ultimately lost. (DeSmog Blog)

ALSO:
• Bipartisan Virginia lawmakers introduce legislation to expand the role of a commission that analyzes the state’s regulation of Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power. (Virginia Mercury)
• Florida lawmakers consider giving state regulators more oversight of municipal utilities. (WFOR)
• A former strategy officer at North Carolina’s environmental agency becomes a climate change policy adviser for the governor’s office. (Coastal Review)

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STORAGE: A lithium-ion battery maker announces it will open a laboratory in eastern Tennessee to research an additive that reduces fires and explosions. (Knoxville News Sentinel, WVLT)

SOLAR:
• A Virginia county board considers a proposal to place solar panels on a landfill to power a sewage pump station. (WRIC)
• A rural Tennessee resident brags on her solar system, but many others in the Tennessee Valley have been relatively slow to adopt solar power. (WLNS)

EFFICIENCY: Clean energy advocates work to inform North Carolina residents of how to take advantage of federal tax credits and rebates for home weatherization and energy-efficient appliances. (Winston-Salem Journal)

OIL & GAS:
• A company builds a 190 MW natural gas peaker plant in Texas. (Daily Trib)
• A 2019 natural gas explosion that killed a woman in Kentucky is among the incidents prompting calls for federal regulators to change a formula setting a blast radius around facilities. (E&E News)

PIPELINES: Environmental groups ask an appeals court to reject a Virginia board’s approval of a key water permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Bloomberg Law)

BIOGAS: Virginia regulators approve a gas utility’s plan to convert gas from a sewage treatment plant into renewable natural gas. (Roanoke Times)

COAL: Workers at a West Virginia coal-fired plant slated to close in May tell state regulators they want a utility to buy it and keep it open. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

GRID:
• The Tennessee Valley Authority announces $28 million in transmission upgrades in North Carolina and Tennessee. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
• The Tennessee Valley Authority seeks public comment on an Alabama project to build a connection from a transmission line to an electric cooperative’s substation. (Sand Mountain Reporter)

POLITICS:
• The Arkansas Republican who now chairs the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee expresses support for carbon removal but also wants to accelerate permitting for fossil fuel-intensive projects. (Inside Climate News)
• Democratic Virginia lawmakers kill a Republican bill to withdraw the state from a regional carbon market. (Virginia Mercury)

TRANSITION: The new head of a Virginia commission to distribute funds in areas historically reliant on tobacco says he wants to attract nuclear, biomass and hydrogen projects. (Cardinal News)

COMMENTARY:
• A columnist calls out Republican Texas lawmakers for “wallowing in climate denial” as they file bills attacking wind and solar projects, many of which ultimately would cost ratepayers. (Houston Chronicle)
• A Georgia mayor hails the long-delayed expansion of nuclear Plant Vogtle for growing carbon-free energy as the region shifts from coal. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, subscription)

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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.