Stories by Karen Clay

Expert Voices

Stalled gas pipelines could push power grids back to oil and coal

pipeline construction site near a suburban home
Construction of a Spectra Energy pipeline in Peekskill, N.Y., in Aug. 2016. Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hindering the expansion of natural gas pipelines could drive a reversion to dirtier energy sources like coal and heating oil, especially when sufficient infrastructure for renewable energy is not yet in place.

Why it matters: Greater demands on the power grid have led to more natural gas pipelines in the Northeastern U.S., but several proposed pipelines have been canceled or delayed due to public pushback. Inhibiting their construction could inadvertently produce greater emissions and lead to more air pollution.

Expert Voices

Converting coal-fired plants can save jobs and provide cleaner energy

a coal-fired power plant giving off smoke
A coal-fired power plant outside Delta, Utah. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

2018 was the second-highest year for retirements of coal-fired power plants in the U.S. In the wake of plant closures, some communities are converting these facilities into production sites for lower-carbon energy sources.

Why it matters: Coal-fired plants have long been seen as economic boons for rural counties, despite the harmful effects of their pollution on local residents. Converting them can both mitigate job losses and help meet energy demands more sustainably.