Response to my August 20, 2020 investigation for The Atlantic and InvestigateWest has been moving, humbling and, at times, overwhelming. We took a deep dive into censorship of clean energy research by Trump officials at the U.S. Department of Energy, and it struck a chord. Especially our inside story of the impact on federal researchers doing their best science. The suppression of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s grid modernization study is a dark tale, but the positive feedback provides a much-needed boost to this journalist during these dark times for the press.
The ripples are still moving, but already include …
- Interventions by the U.S. House of Representatives: House Science Committee chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson sent a letter to the Secretary of Energy demanding answers about NREL’s missing study and the department’s violations of its scientific integrity policy. Two days later the House passed an energy bill with a last minute amendment ordering the Interconnections Seam Study’s release.
- Interviews for the BBC World Service, radio outlets such as Seattle’s KUOW, and podcasts including Greentech Media’s Interchange.
- Followup coverage of the Seams study’s takedown by media outlets including The Los Angeles Times, E&E News, Energy Central and the wonderfully-quirky Numlock News.
Plus a tweetstorm on Twitter. Tweeters include a U.S. Senator, a Cousteau, and globally-recognized researchers such as climate scientist Ken Caldeira, former World Bank energy analysis chief Morgan Bazilian, and US-Canadian applied physics superstar David Keith.
Twitter also delivered several limericks by #energytwitter experts, and a #FreeSeams movement led by Joseph Majkut, the Princeton-trained climatologist who directs climate policy for the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC-based thinktank.
The best feedback of all are the messages from federal scientists at the national labs and at DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, who have suffered in silence under the Trump administration’s anti-science regime and finally feel heard.
Oh, and word from insiders that the Department of Energy is moving to release the Seams study.
Stayed tuned: Followup investigation in preparation. And #FreeSeams!