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Playlist: Carbon Valley

Compiled By: Anna Rader

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Part 1: The Silver Bullet

From Wyoming Public Radio | Part of the Carbon Valley series | 35:58

Coal is on its last legs. In the coal capital of the country, in the least-populated state in the union, leaders had to make a move. So, they turned to a silver bullet and brought in a $20 million competition to jumpstart a new era for coal country. Along the way, an unlikely ally emerges: a skateboarding environmentalist.

Carbon_valley_podcast_final-3000x3000_small

In Gillette, Wyoming, the self-declared energy capital of the nation since the 1960s, a community faces another chaotic coal bankruptcy, leaving miners without jobs and, for many, a question of whether to stick around. It’s the latest chapter of a well-known story: the decline of coal.

With a fundamental economic piece on the rocks, state leaders are forced to find answers to solve both a community’s problems and their own. For now, over a decade, leaders have increasingly invested time and energy into an answer to the “what’s next” question: becoming a hub for a thing called carbon capture. One of the first moves to jumpstart the nascent industry: host an international carbon capture competition. In Part 1 of this story, we also meet our main character.



Part 2: The Finalists

From Wyoming Public Radio | Part of the Carbon Valley series | 47:52

We take a drive north across the Wyoming prairie to visit the research center that’s been dubbed a “glimmer of hope” for coal country. There, we meet the XPRIZE competitors for the first time and learn what’s at stake for them. And we start to wonder–could the confidence behind carbon capture be premature?

Carbon_valley_podcast_final-3000x3000_small We take a drive north across the Wyoming prairie to visit the research center that’s been dubbed a “glimmer of hope” for coal country. There, we meet the XPRIZE competitors for the first time and learn what’s at stake for them. And we start to wonder–could the confidence behind carbon capture be premature?

Part 3: Money And Time

From Wyoming Public Radio | Part of the Carbon Valley series | 44:25

The finalists' confidence begins to crack as they're faced with the reality of setting up demonstrations in just a few months. How do their challenges stack up to those industry-wide? Also, we learn Jason and Dimensional Energy may be at more of a disadvantage than we even realized.

Carbon_valley_podcast_final-3000x3000_small The finalists' confidence begins to crack as they're faced with the reality of setting up demonstrations in just a few months. How do their challenges stack up to those industry-wide? Also, we learn Jason and Dimensional Energy may be at more of a disadvantage than we even realized.

Part 4: On Grief

From Wyoming Public Radio | Part of the Carbon Valley series | 46:20

Cooper must abruptly leave Wyoming for an unexpected trip home. But there's no break in reporting on coal country: another coal-fired power plant has been scheduled for closure, raising existential questions for Kemmerer, Wyoming. Loss tangles with hope--but is it false hope?

Carbon_valley_podcast_final-3000x3000_small Cooper must abruptly leave Wyoming for an unexpected trip home. But there's no break in reporting on coal country: another coal-fired power plant has been scheduled for closure, raising existential questions for Kemmerer, Wyoming. Loss tangles with hope--but is it false hope?

Part 5: The Entrepreneur

From Wyoming Public Radio | Part of the Carbon Valley series | 45:50

It's the summer of 2019. Two more coal companies have filed for bankruptcy, and hundreds of workers are left in the lurch. Meanwhile, Jason Salfi is relieved to find out the Carbon XPRIZE has been delayed. But, how does Jason's drive for this technology square with Wyoming's own? Has he faced any struggles that would help him empathize with coal country’s sense of loss?

Carbon_valley_podcast_final-3000x3000_small It's the summer of 2019. Two more coal companies have filed for bankruptcy, and hundreds of workers are left in the lurch. Meanwhile, Jason Salfi is relieved to find out the Carbon XPRIZE has been delayed. But, how does Jason's drive for this technology square with Wyoming's own? Has he faced any struggles that would help him empathize with coal country’s sense of loss?