Can you dig it? Coal fires the imagination of energy planners

Is it back to the future for the US energy industry ... with greater reliance on coal-fired generation of electricity? You might be tempted to think so, given the number of such new plants (154) now on the drawing boards in 42 states, according to National Energy Technology Laboratory data published by the Associated Press. Texas and Illinois each account for 10 or more of these plants. To the dismay of many environmental activists, Energy Department projections show coal-based power generation growing from about 50 percent of current national output to 57 percent by 2030. Despite centuries of coal-burning, the fuel remains plentiful, whether deep-mined or strip-mined. The states with the most coal mines and the number in each:

1. Kentucky 432

2. West Virginia 277

3. Pennsylvania 266

4. Virginia 132

5. Ohio 54

6. Alabama 53

7. Indiana 29

8. Tennessee 28

9. Illinois 20

10.Maryland 16

– Energy Information Administration

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