Big News: Coal Electricity Drops Big Time


photo: John Norton via flickr

It's been a bad stretch recently for dirty coal, the country's largest source of global warming emissions. First, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped up and contributed big time to the Sierra Club's fierce Beyond Coal campaign. And now news comes that coal's share of U.S. electricity production during the first quarter of this 2011 added up to its lowest amount in more than 30 years.
The Energy Information Administration found that electricity produced from coal accounted for just 46 percent of domestic power, a drop that is 6% lower than the first three months of 2008.

"The decline in the share of generation provided by coal is offset by increased generation fueled by other energy sources, particularly natural gas."

The Clean Air Task Force estimated that in the United States pollution from existing coal power plants was expected to cause some 13,200 premature deaths in 2010, not to mention about 9,700 additional hospitalizations and some 20,000 heart attacks.

The news about coal's fall isn't all great, though. EIA forecasts that electric generation from coal will increase 25 percent in roughly the next twenty years. This trend can, of course, be reversed if we take strong action to speed the great energy transition to clean energy now.

EIA also looked at gas prices, reporting that:

The regular-grade gasoline monthly average retail price fell from $3.91 per gallon in May to $3.65 per gallon in July, reflecting the decline in crude oil prices from their April peak and a recovery from unexpected refinery outages. Projected regular-grade gasoline prices average $3.58 per gallon and $3.44 per gallon in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, respectively, about 6 cents per gallon below last month's Outlook.

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