Coal generated energy falls 20% in the past year in the U.S.May 26, 2012
Coal energy dropping due to competition from alternatives
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released new figures concerning the state of coal generation in the country. According to the agency, electricity produced by burning coal has dropped by nearly 20% over the past year. Coal generated energy now accounts for 36% of the electricity produced in the U.S., down from what it had been in 2011. The agency notes that this steep drop in coal energy production is due to several factors, including the attractiveness of alternative energy.
Price of natural gas cited as major contributor to drop in coal energy production
The EIA notes that natural gas has played a significant role in the decline of coal energy production. Natural gas prices have dropped significantly in the past few years, which have made it an attractive alternative to coal and oil. Though natural gas burns cleaner than these fossil-fuels, it still produces greenhouse gases when burned for energy. Despite this, the inexpensive nature of natural gas will lead to an increased use of the fuel in 2012.
EIA expects growth of natural gas marker to continue through the year
The EIA notes that in the first quarter of 2012, natural gas accounted for approximately 28% of energy generation in the U.S. This is up from 20.7%, the level it had been during the same period in 2011. The EIA believes that this trend will continue throughout 2012 and into the future. Other forms of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power, is also expected to begin playing a larger role in the country’s energy scheme, but may take a back seat to the position of natural gas due to financial issues.
Coal production expected to drop this year due to financial issues
Production at coal mines is expected to drop approximately 10% this year, according to EIA estimates. This is, again, due to the financial aspects of the industry. Financial issues are beginning to have a profound impact on the alternative energy industry and natural gas market in the U.S. As fossil-fuels become more expensive, renewable sources of fuel are becoming more popular, such is the case with natural gas.