TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency

Coal

Basics

The four types of coal mined today, arranged by greatest to least energy potential are: anthracite, bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite.

At a power plant, mined coal is combusted to boil water in a boiler and produce steam to operate steam turbines. Most of the electricity in the United States is produced using steam turbines, where steam is forced against a series of blades mounted on a shaft, which convert the energy into mechanical power. This rotating shaft is connected to the generator, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy based on the relationship between magnetism and electricity.

Opportunities

  • The United States has more coal reserves than any other single country in the world. In fact, just over 1/4 of all the known coal in the world is in the United States.
  • Coal reserves in the United States stand at 268 billion tons, of which 43 percent are in surface mines. The three major coal-producing states are Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
  • The large amount of reserves within the U.S. make coal very inexpensive compared to other sources of electricity.
  • Coal gasification and coal liquefaction are also possible uses of coal for producing synthetic fuel. 

Challenges

  • Coal is a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to create.
  • Surface, or strip mines, are the source of about 70% of the coal that is mined in the U.S. These mining operations remove the soil and rock above coal deposits, or “seams,” disturbing land at its surface.
  • Burning coal produces numerous emissions that adversely affect the environment and human health. When coal is burned, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury compounds are released. For that reason, coal-fired boilers are required to have control devices to reduce the amount of emissions that are released.
Future Trends
In the United States, coal accounts for approximately 50% of the electricity produced.  In 2011, coal was the fuel for about 42% of the 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity generated in the United States.

“Clean coal technology” describes a new generation of energy processes that sharply reduce air emissions and other pollutants from coal-burning power plants. Some of the early projects are showing ways to reduce greenhouse emissions by boosting the efficiency by which coal plants convert coal to electricity or other energy forms.

Testimonials
  • "“As the Texas population continues to grow, so will our energy consumption needs. We must have tools that empower the consumer to choose their products and monitor their usage wisely. TexasIsHot.org is a great resource, which is exactly what Texans need in today’s deregulated market.”" - State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), Chairman of House State Affairs Committee
  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
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