Coal industry may be bigger than you think
Throughout Colorado’s recent battle over new oil and gas drilling, I never saw coal mentioned. Wind and solar power were often mentioned as the desirable alternatives, but I don’t recall seeing anywhere that most of Colorado’s electricity generation is from coal. And when Trump was talking about “clean” coal, I was thinking about coal mining in Appalachia.
However, my sister referred me to a recent article in the New York Times, “How Does Your State Make Electricity?” We’re both shocked at how much coal is still used in Colorado, not to mention the rest of the country. The maps above show the changes/improvement since 2001, even in Appalachia. But here in environmentally conscious Colorado, coal still dominates. In the chart below, wind is gaining slowly and solar, the tiny bit of yellow, barely appears at all. You’d hope both would be gaining rapidly across the Great Plains, where wind and sun are absurdly abundant.
The Times has always had great graphics and they really went overboard on this article. These are their graphs for Colorado and Oklahoma, and there’s a similar one for every state in the union. Each is accompanied by a paragraph explaining what’s been going on.
It’s disappointing to see how Colorado has lagged behind my old home state. Maybe the mountains here are responsible. I don’t know.
Check to see how your state is doing. You might be surprised.