Thomas L. Stokes Award for Best Energy and Environment Writing

Mark Chediak, Chris Martin, Ken Wells and Jim Polson 2013

Bloomberg News

The three-part project opened by showing how the structure of the power grid makes it vulnerable to rooftop solar and cheaper renewables. A second piece works to explain the home-grown utilities called microgrids, which allow businesses and homeowners to cut the cord to their power company. And a final story looks at pushback from utilities in Hawaii and Arizona to cheap rooftop solar. They explore the politics by which conservatives join forces with environmental groups to advocate for expansion of solar power.

Signifying the stories’ reach was the social media buzz it created: According to editor-at-large Ken Wells, “Hundreds of tweets a day on Twitter and over 700 comments alone on on the utility blowback story.”

NPF judges said: “This Bloomberg series opens a window on a downside to green energy that few lay people had previously thought about. Extensive reporting facilitated compelling anecdotes that helped explain complex challenges to the centralized power grid. Particularly interesting were the residents, power executives and politicians who told the story of solar proliferation that is hobbling the legacy power industry in Hawaii, putting on the brakes in California and threatening similar effects elsewhere.”

The Thomas L. Stokes Awardwas established in the spring of 1959 by friends and admirers of the late Thomas L. Stokes, the syndicated Washington columnist on national affairs. It is given annually for the best writing on subjects of interest to Stokes, including energy and natural resources.

The Bloomberg team will receive $1,000 and a citation at NPF’s annual awards dinner on Feb. 18.

Other Winners of this Award


NPF Award Winner: Daniel Glick and Jason Plautz

Daniel Glick and Jason Plautz

High Country News


NPF Award Winner: Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins

Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins

Better Government Association


Lisa Song, David Hasemyer, Jim Morris, Greg Gilderman

InsideClimate News, Center for Public Integrity, The Weather Channel



An eight-person team collaborated on the winning entry


Jim Morris, Chris Hamby and Kimberly Leonard

Center for Public Integrity


Tony Bartelme

The Post and Courier


Thomas Content, Lee Bergquist, Joel Dresang

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Robert Collier

The San Francisco Chronicle


The Plain Dealer Staff

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Sudeep Reddy and Pete Slover

The Dallas Morning News


James Bruggers

The Courier Journal


Ralph Haurwitz and Jeff Nesmith

Austin American-Statesman and Cox Newspapers


Peter Eisler

USA Today