Tuesday, June 25, 2013

President Obama wants to turn out the lights on the coal industry. The problem is the coal industry GIVES us that light in the first place. See the facts here...

President Obama in a speech today pretty much threw down the gauntlet in the direction of the US coal industry.  Rightly or wrongly, we ARE dependent on the stuff.

Here are the facts---you decide for yourself the proper course of action.

This graphic is from 2009 so it may be a little dated as far as the numbers.  But if I had to make an un-educated guess (all I have) I would say the percentages are still in the ballpark.

I modified it to isolate coal, which supplies 20% of our overall energy needs (gray box on left).  BUT it powers 48% (18.30/38.19 X 100) of our electricity needs/wants (box in upper middle).  Read that again.

Nothing else (based in reality) comes close to meeting that power need/want.

Rational debate and policies based on what "is" (positive) and not what "ought to be" (normative) will be more helpful in getting to where we need to be.  Coal is not the fuel of the future but it is of the here and now and many tomorrows.
UPDATE:  Just found this at the Energy Information Agency:

In 2012, the United States generated about 4,054 billion kilowatthours of electricity.  About 68% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), with 37% attributed from coal.
Energy sources and percent share of  total electricity generation in 2012 were:
  • Coal 37%
  • Natural Gas 30%
  • Nuclear 19%
  • Hydropower 7%
  • Other Renewable 5%
    • Biomass 1.42%
    • Geothermal 0.41%
    • Solar 0.11%
    • Wind 3.46%
  • Petroleum 1%
This gets interesting now.  Natural Gas met 18% of our electricity needs/wants in 2009 and now it is 30%.  Coal has decreased from 48% to 37%.

In 3 years we already have transitioned from coal to a much cleaner (and abundant) burning fossil fuel natural gas.

Environmental goals being met without any additional policies.  Go figure...

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