Going Coal-Free

Coal has been used for many hundreds of years to provide heat and energy, but the industrial revolution solidified the resource as a mainstay in energy production. From fuelling the earliest steam engines to modern power plants, it is hard to imagine our lives without this carbon rock.
As a cheap, widely available fuel, coal has allowed economies to grow and continues to power growth around the world. Unfortunately, however, coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions of all power sources accounting for 67.9% of CO2 emissions in electricity production in the US in 2017.
With countries such as China and India building new coal-fired power plants at a rapid rate, achieving target reductions in greenhouse gas emissions seems increasingly difficult. There are, however, a number of jurisdictions that have successfully transitioned away from coal or are in the process of moving away.
Ontario in Canada is the first such jurisdiction in North America to have abandoned coal in favour of other – less polluting – fuel sources for electricity generation. Alberta, another Canadian Province, is on schedule to closing or converting its coal-fired power plants by 2030.
In Europe, Germany is slated to get rid of its coal power plants by 2038. There has been much ado surrounding coal power in Germany while the country is going through its Energiewende – Energy Transition. After the nuclear incident in Fukushima Japan, Germany vowed to speed up the closure of all of its nuclear plants and transition to nuclear-free clean energy production which, quite ironically, involved the construction of new and reactivation of mothballed coal power plants. This was done to ensure adequate supply owing to the removal of nuclear capacity from the grid. Notwithstanding the challenges of the last decade, Germany has vowed to press on with the closure of its coal plants.
As more and more jurisdictions consider and take steps to going coal-free, for many parts of the world it is still a vital source of energy. It will be a long time before the last lump is burned.
Learn more about this topic through the NRG Expert Power Generator Database