- In the News
- Position on Energy
July 2, 2014
America has the world’s largest reserves of recoverable coal, providing the country with nearly a 235-year supply of secure, affordable domestic energy. Its abundance accounts for why coal generates 35 percent of the nation’s electricity — by far the largest share — and why coal remains the dominant fuel for electricity generation through 2035, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As the chart below reveals, coal is the lowest cost of the major energy fuel sources, contributing to U.S. manufacturing’s competitive advantage and to the advanced quality of life that Americans enjoy.
The development of a viable coal-to-liquid industry in the U.S. has the further potential to expand coal utilization beyond electricity generation to the transportation sector. Poly-generation plants can produce an even wider range of products.
Advances in clean coal technologies and more efficient combustion systems have enabled U.S. power plants to reduce their regulated emissions by more than 60 percent since 1970, while increasing electric power output over the same period by 140 percent. In fact, a new coal-fueled power plant today emits 90 percent fewer emissions than the typical plant it replaces built in the 1970s. Further emissions reductions are expected as new technology is developed and commercially deployed.
In June 2013, Duke Energy’s new Edwardsport generating station began commercial operation in Indiana. The new coal gasification plant produces 10 times the electricity output of the plant it replaced — yet emits 70 percent less sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Carbon dioxide emissions were cut in half. These modern coal generating plants are a key element in providing the power America needs while reducing air emissions. The plant will employ about 140 full-time workers. Additionally, the 1.7 million to 1.9 million tons of coal the plant will use each year will support an estimated 170 mining jobs.
Backgrounder on U.S. Coal