Over the last century, cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas transformed the American West by building coal plants, hydropower dams and nuclear reactors to fuel their stunning growth. Now those cities are on the verge of doing it again, only this time with solar and wind farms, long-distance power lines and open-pit lithium mines.

Clean energy projects are badly needed to fight climate change — but they can fuel intense opposition in the communities where they’re built. We’re spotlighting examples of that tension across the West, with an eye toward finding solutions.

1
Carbon County, Wyoming

the biggest wind farm

August 23, 2022
A landscape photo of a large wind turbine. In the backdrop a sprawling wind under a large cloudy sky
2
Imperial Valley, California

A Farming Empire

January 17, 2023
An overhead photo of a green cabbage field where a single farmworker harvests.
3
Southern Nevada

Solar Sprawl

June 27, 2023
A long field of solar panels shimmer in front of a distant skyline of large buildings in the desert.
4
Idaho

Red State Goes Green

September 26, 2023
Needs alt text

Hydropower forms the backbone of the Gem State’s electric grid and has allowed Idaho Power to pledge 100% clean energy by 2045. It’s an unprecedented green ambition in a deep-red state — or a greenwashing sham, depending on whom you ask. Read the story

5
Montana

Coal’s Not Dead Yet

April 16, 2024
A power plant's smokestacks are visible from miles away in a small town.

Los Angeles, Portland and other West Coast cities are still powered by faraway coal plants. Here’s why it’s been so hard to shut them down — and why blue states can’t solve the climate crisis on their own. Read the story

Down the Road

Scroll down for a preview of where we’re going next in this series. And sign up for Sammy Roth’s Boiling Point newsletter to come along for the ride.

Coming Soon
6
Navajo Nation

Climate Justice

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