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Age of Electricity

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MS, I gather that natural gas overtaking coal in so many states is mainly due to the greater amount of natural gas that became available with advances in fracking and horizontal drilling, making the price of natural gas more competitive for power plants. We have sulfur-dioxide emission limits, especially, also resulting in less generation by coal-fired plants. Fall in SO2 Emissions 2006-2015. (SO2 in the air is harmful to breathing and reduces visibility.) The States in which wind overtook coal for electrical generation may have been due to increase in number of wind-power generators. The cases in which hydro or nuclear overtook coal may have been possible due to buying power from others, including Canada.

A nuclear fuel pellet the size of a thimble can produce as much steam as 100 box cars of coal. Four boxcars will have been consumed in producing that pellet. However, the procedures and dollars required to ensure the lack of nuclear-power accidents that the US has enjoyed since TMI is enormous, and therefore nuclear cannot make the other types of fuel uncompetitive. It is a good point, of course, to not put all our eggs in one basket, and I'd say good also to not be drastically dependent on importation of fuels for power generation or on importation of electricity.

 

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