From fossils to renewables, energy booms across North Dakota in the 2010s

The 2010s brought dramatic changes to North Dakota’s energy landscape as “the Bakken” became a household name, wind turbines grew bigger and the coal industry doubled down on research efforts.

The development of the Bakken shale play came just as the recession of 2008 left many Americans unemployed or in debt. The promise of high-wage jobs drew tens of thousands of people to western North Dakota.

The boom also created wealth for their employers and mineral owners, as well as for the state of North Dakota via taxes levied on oil production. But it also caused headaches for local officials tasked with upgrading their communities’ roads, sewage systems and schools to accommodate a growing population.