My life on the road for Canary

Our roving correspondent explains how and why he’s been traveling the U.S. and the world to report on the clean energy transition.
By Julian Spector

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photos of Julian in action and pins on a map
A few of the spots Julian Spector has visited in 2023. (Can you spot Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm?) Image by Binh Nguyen.

Dear readers,

Over the last year, I took it upon myself to become Canary Media’s roving correspondent. My cherished colleagues have other duties — to packs of felines, an adorable corgi, children, significant others. Blissfully unencumbered, I gave up my rental house in L.A. and hit the road. 

As a nonprofit, Canary doesn’t have a huge budget to send reporters around the U.S., let alone the world. From a home base in our nation’s capital, I paid my own way to various locales for a few weeks at a time, visiting friends and family where I could. Canary being a hip and with-it digital startup, my editors supported my geographical eccentricities, rolling with me as I worked from disparate time zones and occasionally called into meetings from buses or a 16th-century monastery. 

California can feel like the center of the world when you’ve lived there for years. But everywhere else I voyaged, I also witnessed the energy transition in action, unfolding in regionally specific ways.

In Hawaii, I found a whole state quitting fossil fuels and grappling with the sometimes messy process of switching to renewables. In the Southeast, I road-tripped through the new battery-manufacturing hub springing into existence thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. In West Virginia, I sang Country Roads” with Senator Joe Manchin at a next-generation climatetech factory in an old steel town. In Houston, I met a new crop of wildcatters hungry to strike it rich in the clean hydrogen boom. (Those last three actually were official reporting trips for Canary.)

My adventures farther afield were no less striking. While visiting a dear friend in Tokyo, I stumbled upon totally ubiquitous heat-pump adoption and a world-leading network of home batteries. In Portugal, when my late-season beach getaway to Nazaré was swamped by insistent rain and howling winds, I discovered a record run of clean power production. When I learned the country met its electricity needs with just renewables for six straight days, I had to write it up.

If you’ve appreciated any of these dispatches — or my colleagues’ reporting on rooftop solar, decarbonized air travel, home electrification, and much more — could you make a donation to help us continue doing our work?

It’s a turbulent time for climate journalism, and journalism in general. Canary Media can only keep going with the help of readers like you. So if you want more evidence of how clean energy is reshaping the landscape and people’s livelihoods from Hawaii to Texas to Maine and beyond, show us some love before the year’s end. We’ll be very grateful. 

See you on the road next year!

Julian Spector
Senior Reporter
Canary Media

Julian Spector is a senior reporter at Canary Media. He reports on batteries, long-duration energy storage, low-carbon hydrogen and clean energy breakthroughs around the world.