Coal consumption in the United States has decreased by 35% over the past ten years. This means that fewer homes and businesses are run using energy derived from coal. Moreover, coal production has also fallen sharply, from 2 billion kWh to 1.2 billion kWh since 2007. That means the amount of coal being produced has almost been cut in half.
Why Coal Production is Decreasing:
Why is the production of coal declining? And is it a short-term trend or a sign of more coal reductions to come?
Utilities are now choosing cheaper electricity sources like natural gas simply because it costs less. Renewable energy costs are also falling and becoming larger competitors for coal. This has allowed these two electricity sources to significantly step up their share of the energy market, while simultaneously lowering coal’s segment. Unless a new way is found to make coal the cheapest product again, consumption and production will continue to decrease.
The Fall of Coal Improving Our Environment:
This shift in our energy industry is keeping environmentalists optimistic about the future of our planet. The use of coal has been one of the leading air pollution sources driving environmental degradation around the world. Some of the most significant toxic emissions from coal combustion consist of
- Carbon Dioxide: this is the dominant greenhouse gas generated from burning fossil fuels that raises our average global temperature and causes various impacts of climate change.
- Nitrogen Oxides: these are poisonous and reactive gases that cause smog in the air, deterioration of forest vegetation, and health issues such as respiratory and lung diseases.
- Sulfur Dioxide: this gas contributes to causing respiratory diseases and acid rain, which harms any ecosystem that it is exposed to.
Many of us would like to think that the environmental price of coal that has taken its toll on the planet is causing the fall of this commodity. Instead, a much more powerful factor is putting coal out of business. It’s simple—money.
Ironically enough, many fossil fuel industry players have been investing in renewables, including solar and wind sources, because of their competitive costs in the market. Just last year, one of the largest oil companies in the world invested 1.7 billion dollars into a new renewables program called New Energies. This program also has an annual capital expenditure of $200 billion, signifying the corporation’s confidence in the cost benefits of the expanding renewables market. This proves loud and clear that business will follow the money.
CleanChoice Energy works to address catastrophic climate change by providing 100% clean, renewable energy using wind and solar power. Learn how you can easily switch your home or business to renewables today.