The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued a report on the state of power generated by different sources. In 2011 coal decreased to below forty percent of the total power generated in the U.S. The last time this happened was in 1978. The EIA attributes the decrease in coal to the increasing competitiveness of natural gas. Natural gas prices dropped significantly this past winter according to EIA. Besides price drops in natural gas, another contributing factor according to EIA is that 106 coal plants shut down between January 2010 and February 2012. The latest plants scheduled to close this year are in Chicago, the Fisk and Crawford facilities. The number of coal plants closed represents 162 million tons of carbon a year (nine percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet). There is more good news. EIA data also shows that renewable energy generation sources are growing. The EIA forecasts that renewable energy will account for 33 percent of the overall growth in electricity generation from 2010 to 2035. Wind power, according to the EIA, has been the fastest growing sources of new electric power generation for several years. In 2010, wind power generation increased 28.1 percent over 2009. Previous years also saw major gains: 2008 had 33.4 percent gains, 2008 had 60.7 percent gains and 2006 had 49.3 percent gains.
Photo Credit: John Vlahakis