OVERSIGHT: Virginia lawmakers consider two plans to rework how regulators oversee electric utility rates, with one letting regulators reduce base rates and the other applying more sweeping changes. (Virginia Mercury)

ALSO: Virginia lawmakers in a politically divided state legislature face the challenge of filling two regulatory seats with unequal terms. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signals support for a grid redesign that aims to improve reliability by encouraging the construction of more natural gas-fired power plants. (Dallas Morning News)
• Environmental activists say the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plans to replace a retiring coal plant with natural gas will likely lead to more rolling blackouts like those that occurred during last month’s winter storm. (WKRN)

• Korean battery maker SK Innovation juices pay and benefits at a Georgia factory as it looks to boost its U.S. workforce from 4,000 people today to 20,000 in 2025, illustrating the challenges finding skilled workers for the clean energy transition. (Reuters)
• A company announces it will build a West Virginia factory to make iron-air batteries, which it touts as longer-lasting, less expensive and more sustainably scalable than lithium-ion batteries. (Utility Dive)
• A Florida researcher has developed a new aqueous battery that could be safer, faster charging and just as powerful as electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries, and won’t short circuit during flooding. (CleanTechnica)

• Outspoken West Virginia lawmakers on a key energy committee take a skeptical view of community solar despite support from environmentalists, renewable energy developers and clean energy advocates. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Texas farmers say they’re concerned solar energy development is replacing the state’s fading agricultural sector. (KXXV)

• An environmental group releases a report citing the lack of reporting of excess emissions at two Louisiana liquified natural gas terminals as evidence that environmental regulators can’t keep up with the export boom. (Inside Climate News)
• A natural gas fracking company that filed for bankruptcy in 2020 racked up $1.3 billion of profit and saw its stock double in the first 9 months of 2022 as surging global demand drives drillers in Louisiana and Texas. (Wall Street Journal, subscription)

• Two tenants in Jacksonville, Florida’s port win federal grants to decrease emissions as the port shifts from diesel and oil toward electrification and hydrogen fuel. (Florida Times-Union)
• West Virginia auditors warn lawmakers to guard against double-dipping by ensuring agreements that pay forest landowners who sequester carbon don’t overlap with a similar tax incentive program. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

PIPELINES: A portion of the Colonial Pipeline restarts after crews repair a diesel fuel leak in Virginia. (Associated Press)

BIOMASS: An energy company reaches a settlement with Georgia residents that resolves its air quality permit and will allow it to refurbish a shuttered particle board facility into a wood pellet factory. (news release)

CLIMATE: Hurricane Ian and the Christmas weekend cold snap pushed 2022’s climate-related damage in the U.S. to more than $165 billion, the highest since 2017 and third highest on record. (Associated Press)

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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.