Energy Consulting News
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EIA Reports Coal Production on Decline
U.S. coal production fell almost 7% in 2012 according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The details of this report result from natural gas consumption displacing the use of the combustible black rock.
Consider the large power plants that, in the past, pumped black smoke into the sky while burning coal to generate electricity. Things like “carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury compounds are released [into the atmosphere when burning coal]. For that reason, coal-fired boilers are required to have control devices to reduce the amount of emissions that are released,” according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
On the other hand, the clean burning, relatively low price, and abundant supply of natural gas have supported increased consumption in generation facilities. Natural gas is also much cleaner to burn than coal because its consumption results in fewer emissions.
According to a report by the EPA “the burning of natural gas produces nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, but in lower quantities than burning coal or oil.” When natural gas is not burned completely, or when pipelines leak, methane can also be emitted in to the atmosphere. However, the “emissions of sulfur dioxide and mercury compounds from burning natural gas are negligible.”
Generation facilities are required to abide by new government regulations in an attempt to curb greenhouse gas emissions. “Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides at the power plant.”
Hence, generators have multiple incentives to use natural gas to produce electricity. Its relatively low in price and much kinder to the environment make it all the more appropriate choice to burn. Businesses in the industrial and commercial sectors of deregulated energy markets can speak with a consultant at an energy management firm about their energy use, and start discussing options they have to keep the environment in mind.