Energy Revolution

Interactive: See How America’s Energy Appetite Has Changed Over 40 Years

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The energy industry has undergone seismic changes in technology and outlook over the past 40 years, but that turmoil is only just beginning to produce an impact on the sources of American energy consumption. The following interactive graph allows you to compare the source of energy consumed in the U.S. between any two years over the last four decades.

10 comments
TenaciousJim
TenaciousJim

Coal usage is probably going to drop dramatically with the new clean rules.  I've already seen 2 announcements about plants closing in the next 4 years.  Coal producers will just sell it overseas.

The question is what replaces it.  Most likely natural gas and some renewable.  This really ought to hit home with environmentalists when the truth comes out that the number of turbines needed to replace a single coal plant isn't practical.  

johnst1001a
johnst1001a

@TenaciousJim 

Coal will drop because gas is so cheap, no real reason not to switch from coal to gas. It is far less expensive to operate a power plant fueled by gas than coal. I know, I operated a power plant for 7 years. 

TanmayLololAnaisPradhan
TanmayLololAnaisPradhan

@TenaciousJim Do you know that coal plants produce radioactive waste ? Its called fly ash.

Coal is the WORST source of energy ECONOMICALLY. People all over get chronically ill, and the coal companies aren't there to foot the bill, are they ???

Heck even NUCLEAR POWER is way safer and better. Have you read of all the SPILLS and CONTAMINATION from fly ash ?? It DESOLATES entire communities.

TanmayLololAnaisPradhan
TanmayLololAnaisPradhan

@TenaciousJim And don't take my word for it. Look at Great britain, Germany, India, all of whom have huge amounts of hydro energy (dams) or tidal or solar. All also have many nuclear plants.

India still relies heavily on coal, as does China. But both these countries do not value human life, and the air pollution in both places is UNBEARABLE.

ECONOMICALLY though, these countries have waaaay higher reliance on non coal than the US. And they are doing great energy wise, thank you very much.

TanmayLololAnaisPradhan
TanmayLololAnaisPradhan

@TenaciousJim True/Not true. Indeed, huge amounts of turbines will be required to replace 1 coal plant. But buddy of mine, do you know that 100,000 people die every year in your country directly due to pollution from these plants ? Also for every person that dies, there are several chronically ill people. Do you know how much that costs ??

Coal, if you add the health costs (ignoring climate change) is way more expensive than all other sources COMBINED, yes even oil, natural gas and nuclear (the non renewables) are waaaay cleaner than coal.

So economically, you fools should have switched away from coal to ANYTHING and reaped a windfall. Even if you are against renewables, replacing coal entirely with nuclear would have saved you so much that you guys would never have felt the last recession.

TenaciousJim
TenaciousJim

@johnst1001a Some new rules have already caused coal plants to announce end of life.  It becomes too expensive to operate.

johnst1001a
johnst1001a

@TanmayLololAnaisPradhan @TenaciousJim 

Not to mention that 80,000 people have died in the past 100 years or so mining coal and dealing with black lung disease. How many are killed by putting up wind turbines? I think I read that 1 person was so far, could be more, but certainly a very small number. 

As for health care costs, yes, huge numbers. And also coal has killed industries, like oyster and other shell fish farming. I live in an area in NJ, not too far from a coal plant, the soil and water has been contaminated for years, no shell fishing allowed. 

Natural gas will take over coal for the most part, not due to regulation, but due to lower total cost. 

I hear all the time that fracking causes earthquakes. Well, what you might hear about is a very small, but measurable recording on a seismograph. But so will you detect the blast in a coal mine, or when they blow off the tops of mountains. And yes, coal mining does impact drinking water, far more than any fracking operation.