Powering a Nation

The quest for energy in a changing USA

Energy makes America go.

But the way we get it is more complex and vulnerable than most of us realize.

The truth about energy is that change won't come easily.

Here, you can explore America’s energy stories, meet the people behind the debate and join the conversation about our future.


Roping the wind
Once considered a burden, the wind is now reviving the Texas town of Roscoe by creating new jobs and bringing people back, giving a second chance to this once-dying community.


Down the lines

The U.S. energy grid is in trouble. The crumbling infrastructure and lag in construction of power lines have set the stage for more serious and frequent blackouts in the coming years.

Grid Photo

Xiaohu Zhou, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at North Carolina State University, is working on a power electronics converter for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle charging station. A charging station allows electricity to flow in and out of the grid, making cars a source of electricity storage. (Photo by Eileen Mignoni)

Smart Grid could re-energize an aging system


Debating coal's future

The residents of Meigs County, Ohio, live beneath the towering smokestacks of four coal-fired power plants. A fifth plant has been proposed, the latest salvo in a battle over the way the U.S. gets electricity.

Since 2001, U.S. energy companies have proposed more than 150 new coal plants. But a loose network of environmental activists, aided by uncertain economic conditions, has forced plans for more than 100 of the plants to be abandoned. Dozens more are clogged up in the court systems.

One such coal fight is unfolding in Meigs County, Ohio, which is already surrounded by four coal-fired power plants. American Municipal Power has proposed building a new Meigs County coal plant, slated to begin construction late this year or in early 2010.

The following information provides background to explain why coal plants are at the center of a national debate over energy production and consumption.


coal.flv — video by Sara Peach and Chris Carmichael

coalintro.doc — written by Sara Peach

coalqa.doc — written by Sara Peach

grid.doc — written by Courtney Woo

grid.flv — video by Eileen Mignoni and Courtney Woo

grid.swf — graphic by Ashley Zammitt

gridcut.doc — written by Eileen Mignoni

gridintro.doc — written by Sara Peach

gridpic.jpg — photo by Eileen Mignoni

logo.psd — designed by Ashley Zammitt

overallintro.doc — written by Sara Peach

wind.flv — video by Nacho Corbella

windintro.doc — written by Nacho Corbella