GRID: Arguments over who can access solar incentives and whether officials are focusing too much on fossil fuels may potentially hold up $14 billion in federal funding to repair Puerto Rico’s troubled energy grid. (Politico)

ALSO:
• Texas lawmakers advance a bill to offer energy companies low-interest loans to upgrade or build natural gas-fueled power plants, while delaying another bill to pay gas-fired electricity generators in exchange for promises to produce power when demand is high. (Texas Tribune)
• A consultant commissioned by South Carolina lawmakers reports the state could save up to $362 million if it joins the PJM Interconnection, and $187 million if it participates in a new Southeast transmission organization. (Utility Dive)
• A Texas city prepares for months of delay as federal regulators withhold final approval for its plan to deregulate its energy market by switching to the state power grid. (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)

COAL ASH: The U.S. EPA moves to include previously exempted disposal sites in an expanded coal ash rule that was prompted by a 2008 coal ash spill at a Tennessee power plant — but loopholes still remain. (Vxartnews, Knoxville News Sentinel)

SOLAR:
• A Florida city planning board approves a nonprofit’s plan to install solar panels at a residential community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and possibly sell power back to the municipal utility. (Ledger)
• A Georgia city begins installation of what will be the state’s largest municipal rooftop solar energy system. (WGAU)
• A solar developer, utility and Tennessee officials break ground on a pair of solar farms totaling 6.75 MW. (Clarksville Now)
• A solar developer and contractor will appeal a federal jury decision to have them pay $135.5 million for erosion problems to landowners adjacent to a 100 MW Georgia solar farm. (Engineering News-Record)

COAL: Federal lawyers say West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies ran up more than $409,000 in past-due mine safety fine debt payments since February, even after officials reminded them 10 times over that period. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

WIND: As developers move through the process of building 25 GW of offshore wind along the East Coast, federal officials prepare for a lease auction in the Gulf of Mexico this year. (S&P Global)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Nissan celebrates the 40th anniversary of a Tennessee manufacturing plant it’s revamping and expanding to produce electric vehicles. (Autoevolution)

EMISSIONS: Virginia’s natural gas industry argues against state regulation of methane emissions, saying pending federal rules are enough. (Virginia Mercury)

ELECTRIFICATION: North Carolina municipalities consider the idea of prohibiting gas-powered leaf blowers, but so far none have enacted a specific ban. (Wilmington StarNews)

COMMENTARY:
• An environmental advocacy group supports the U.S. EPA’s recently proposed carbon rules for power plants as “a turning point in addressing the climate crisis” for communities in the South. (Southern Environmental Law Center)
• “Wicked smaht” — an editorial board endorses the concept of floating solar for Arkansas. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
• A West Virginia talk radio host hails the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline as a significant step toward completion of the long-delayed, over-budget project. (WV Metro News)

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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.