When we first discussed working on a story about how California leads the pack on large-scale alternative energy projects, photographer Jamey Stillings immediately came to mind.

Stillings began photographing the Ivanpah Solar project in October 2010, with a flyover of the the Mojave Desert. He photographed the land that would be transformed into the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the largest solar plant in the world. Construction on the Ivanpah solar project ended in 2014, the same year Stillings published his work—more than three years of aerial photography of the site—as a book, The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar (Steidl).

Stillings has since continued documenting alternative-energy projects in California and other states in a larger project called Energy in the American West. Below are a few images from the Ivanpah project and some of the other alternative-energy sites he’s photographed in California.

Installing a heliostat for Unit 1, with mountains reflected in its mirrors, at Ivanpah Solar in the Mojave Desert of California.

Installing wind turbines at Ocotillo Wind, off I-8 in Southern California.

Construction of wind turbines at the Ocotillo Wind farm.

Wind turbines from the Ocotillo Wind project along Interstate 8 in California.

First Solar’s Desert Sunlight site in Riverside county, California.

Desert Sunlight solar farm in Riverside County, California.

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm.

Ivanpah Solar Farm in the Mojave Desert, California.

Ivanpah Solar Farm, the largest solar thermal power station in the world.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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