Say you live near a coal plant and are worried about the health impacts it might have on you and your family. You want to learn more about where these plants are located and what kind of health impacts they might have. This article will help you do just that.
Despite the global decline in coal-fired plants, there are still a number of these facilities operating in the United States.
In order for all of us to hold our utilities accountable for their sustainable development goals (SDGs) and carbon emissions targets, we need to track what is the core of these goals, which is the retirement of coal plants. I’ve put together a map of coal plants in the US to help you find who owns each plant and what ones are in your local area.
Before we get into the reality of our universe, I thought our goal was always to leave the planet in a better spot than when we left it.
First, is the concept surrounding our kids. We want our kids to experience a better life than we did growing up. This has historically always been quantified solely by money:
“If I’m wealthy enough, my kids can grow up in a better situation than I grew up in.”
If you’re solving with money then you are doing it wrong. We need to leave the planet in a better place for all of our children in all regards.
Without a planet, what’s left?
One thing that’s for certain is that the health and environmental considerations of coal plants are counterproductive to that story.
Let’s make it a point to know of every single coal plant to hold all utility companies accountable for the retirement of a counterproductive form of power.
What are coal power plants?
Coal plants are electric power plants that generate electricity using coal as their fuel source. Coal is burned to produce heat, which in turn produces steam.
The steam is used to turn turbines, which generate electricity. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The history of coal power plants in the United States
Coal-fired power plants have been in operation in the United States since 1882. The first plant opened in New York City. Coal-fired power plants were the leading source of electricity in the United States for much of the 20th century.
However, their popularity began to decline in the 1970s as more efficient and less polluting power sources, such as natural gas, became available.
More recently, in the 2000s, they’ve declined even further as the economics of coal become far less appealing, the carbon dioxide has become more detrimental to the environment, and the economics of renewable energy outpace the coal industry.
Coal CO2 Emissions in the United States
According to the US Energy Information Administration, coal power plants are responsible for over half of all electricity generated in the United States. Though coal power plants account for only 8% of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, America’s reliance on coal makes it the second leading emitter of coal carbon dioxide emissions.
China, which has rapidly industrialized in recent years, is responsible for the majority of coal carbon dioxide emissions. If current trends continue, coal will remain the world’s leading fuel for electricity generation through 2040.
While there have been some efforts to reduce coal use in the United States, such as the Clean Power Plan, which was proposed by the Obama administration but never enacted, coal power is still a significant source of pollution in America.
Eroding Coal Economics
As the cost of renewable energy continues to drop, coal power plants are getting less and less competitive. Fossil fuels such as bituminous coal have long been the go-to source for electricity generation in the United States, but their days are numbered.
The cost of wind and solar power is dropping rapidly as technology improves, while at the same time, fossil fuel prices continue to rise—and not just because of market forces: there’s a lot of human influence on this trend too.
The problem isn’t so much that natural gas plants are cheaper than coal anymore; it’s that renewable energy has gotten cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels on price alone.
In fact, some utilities are now finding it cheaper to switch from cheap natural gas plants over to renewables instead.
Other Factors in the Decline of Coal Production
The overall coal fleet in the United States has been declining for decades, and it is expected to continue to decline for the foreseeable future.
The coal industry is currently in a state of transition as it adapts to market forces, including low natural gas prices and environmental regulations.
Coal production is expected to continue declining at more than twice the rate of natural gas production through 2040. This reflects lower natural gas prices, reduced demand from utilities due to increasing renewables capacity, and increases in exports (for example, rising exports to Asia).
There are roughly 100,0000 workers directly employed by companies that mine coal or sell coal byproducts—down from nearly 300,000 workers in 2008.
Although some companies have eliminated jobs due to automation technologies implemented during this period, other factors such as increased imports have also contributed.
The average salary for a coal miner is approximately $73,000—higher than the national average for all occupations of $50,000. However, is the health risks worth it? But today, there are nearly three times as many solar energy jobs as there are coal mining jobs.
Health Impacts of a Coal Plant
Coal plants are responsible for a significant number of premature deaths each year. In the United States, it is estimated that coal power plants cause over 10,000 premature deaths each year.
The vast majority of these premature deaths are due to heart disease and stroke, caused by exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
PM2.5 is a type of air pollution that consists of very small particles. These particles are so small that they can be inhaled and lodge deep in the lungs, where they can cause irritation and inflammation.
Living near a coal-fired power plant is associated with a host of health problems, including respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer, and birth defects. The closer you live to the plant, the greater your risk of these health problems.
There are some things you can do to reduce your risk, however, including staying indoors on days when the plant is operating and keeping your windows closed. You can also reduce your risk by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help reduce your risk of health problems associated with living near a coal power plant. Eating a healthy diet includes eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It also means avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of saturated and unhealthy fats.
Exercising regularly includes at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days of the week. Moderate-intensity activities include walking, biking, and swimming.
You can also reduce your risk by staying indoors on days when the plant is operating and keeping your windows closed.
When the plant is operating, coal plants release emissions into the air. These emissions can contain a variety of harmful pollutants, including mercury, lead, and arsenic. These pollutants can cause a host of health problems, including respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer, and birth defects. The closer you live to the plant, the greater your risk of these health problems.
How many coal plants are in the US?
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are more than 400 coal units in the United States. The majority of these coal plants are located in the eastern half of the country.
They are concentrated in the East and West, as well as in the South. The Southeast also has a large amount of coal power plants, while there aren’t any in either Colorado or Hawaii.
States with the most coal plants are Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Map of Coal Power Plants in the United States
I’ve compiled a map of every single coal plant in the United States, including a 20-kilometer radius of each plant so you can understand your health risks if you do live by one.
Do you live near a coal power plant?
I’d love to hear from you, please email me by using my contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Let’s ensure every coal power plant is gone so we can stick by our motto of leaving the planet in a better place than we found it.
What a wonderful age to be alive. The number of coal plants has dropped by almost half since 2010, and their power generation has decreased by 37%. Utility firms, on the other hand, are still planning for the future with coal rather than completely without it.
What is a coal power plant?
A coal plant is a facility that converts coal into electricity. The coal is burned in a boiler to produce steam, which turns to a turbine to generate electricity.
What is the history of coal power plants in the United States?
The first coal power plant in the United States was built in 1882 in New York City. By the early 1900s, there were more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants across the country. Today, there are about 600 coal plants in the United States.
Where are the most coal plants in the US?
Indiana contains the largest number of coal units in the United States.