STATE LEGISLATURES MAGAZINE
Coal Still Powers Our Plugged-In Nation
Coal continues to generate more of the electricity that Americans have come to depend upon than any other fuel source. In 2012, coal produced 37 percent of the nation’s electricity, but its share has been decreasing as the use of natural gas has increased. In 1993, for example, coal’s portion was 53 percent while natural gas produced only 13 percent. What’s ahead? The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts America’s consumption of electricity will increase about 0.9 percent each year through 2040, when it believes coal will be producing about 35 percent of the country’s electricity and natural gas 30 percent. But if gas prices stay low due to more discoveries, it predicts natural gas will take coal’s place as the leading producer of electricity. Currently, Americans make up 5 percent of the world’s population, but use 24 percent of all energy consumed worldwide.
By the Numbers
The Top 5 Electricity Generators
What’s Considered Renewable Energy?
*Includes wood, municipal
solid waste, landfill gas
and other fuels
By Mary Winter