September 14, 2016

Which Story Should Inside Energy Investigate Next?

Print More



Inside Energy needs your help: We want you to pick our next story! You can cast your vote at the bottom of this page.

Along with bringing you surprising and original stories about energy, we also collect and answer your questions through our IE Questions project. We get a LOT of questions, and we can’t answer every single one. Here’s where we need your help: You can vote on a group of questions and tell us which one is most curious or interesting to you. The winner will become our next story.

Usually we pick a few questions that are thematically related, but this time we’re trying something new: Each of our staff members picked the question that most stuck out to them. Here they are, in their own words, to tell you why those questions resonated. Take a read, decide who is most convincing, and cast your vote at the end of this story!

Executive Editor Alisa Barba, California, picked: “What kind of subsidies does natural gas get from the government?”


Here’s what Alisa had to say: “There’s a lot of noise about wind and solar subsidies, but little is known about the widespread and substantial tax exemptions and subsidies for fossil fuels. I want to dig in.”



Reporter Dan Boyce, Colorado, picked: “When will we have fusion?”


Why this is a great question: A power generating process with no greenhouse gases, no nuclear waste, and essentially limitless fuel? Sounds great! But it feels like fusion is one of those things we always hear about being 30 years away – no matter the year. So when, REALLY, might we start seeing it in the mix?


Video Producer Rebecca Jacobson, Colorado, picked: “Why do people guilt-trip others about their carbon footprint?”


Here’s what Rebecca said: “Human behavior is always fascinating, and we haven’t had an opportunity to talk about how behavior affects our relationship with energy. The question about green-shaming was a really good opportunity to start addressing how culture and behavior affect how we use energy.”


Reporter Stephanie Joyce, Wyoming, picked: “Will it ever be possible for the U.S. to come up with a comprehensive long-term energy policy, or are we too fractured politically?”


Here’s why: “I often hear that U.S. energy policy is confusing, governed by special interests and lacking in long-term vision. Would a national energy strategy fix those problems? How would we even go about crafting such a policy?”


Reporter Leigh Paterson, Wyoming, picked: “How can we advocate energy efficiency/consciousness to be ‘cool’ and change public opinion?”


Leigh wants to answer this because, “The market for electric vehicles and solar panels has grown, in part, because of branding and a coolness that is generally associated with tech start-ups. If we could plug energy efficiency into this trend, would it become more widespread?”


Engagement Editor Amber Rivera, Colorado, picked: “How are household recycled items sorted? Does it make a difference?”

AmberHere’s why she’s interested:” I’ve always wondered how much of what we put into recycling bins doesn’t actually get recycled, or isn’t reaching its max offset potential due to setbacks from sorting issues. How much of missed recycling benefit is due to misunderstanding by individuals of HOW or WHAT to recycle, versus a result of the machinery and larger recycling system?”


Reporter Amy Sisk, North Dakota, picked: “How much do you think it would cost to power a county fair with electricity for a day? A week? A month?”

AmyHere’s what Amy said: “I picked the county fair question because county fairs are popular in North Dakota. People show off their livestock, and children display their FFA and 4H projects. It’s a great time!”



Data Journalist Jordan Wirfs-Brock, Colorado, picked: “Can you crowdsource the supply of excess energy?” 


Here’s why: “When I hear ‘crowd-source’ excess energy, I think about people who generate their own electricity, for example, someone with rooftop solar panels. Would there be a way for those people to trade with their neighbors without going through the electric grid? What would that even look like? A local battery-storage trade? I’m intrigued, because it’s a way to explore the idea of a ‘microgrid’ — and what happens when people take energy into their own hands. Also, this question leads to so many more questions!”

Now, tell us which question you’d like to see the answer to, by casting your vote!