What's going on with electric power in the United States?
I keep hearing about possible blackouts in the Midwest coming this summer. Even Texas is expecting rolling blackouts. This is an energy state with abundant natural gas. I have seen blackouts due to storms and other issues but never a prediction of blackouts just because it is summer and hot. While I am aware there has been an effort to "go green" by implementing solar and wind generation, together they account for around 4% of generation. That's hardly a blip in the greater scheme of things. Coal has historically been the baseload power generator. It has been systematically dismantled over the past decade, and this has resulted in a net decrease in total available power in many areas.
While natural gas has risen to supplant coal as the United States' largest energy source for electricity, total energy has not increased in ten years. Due to economic conditions and government regulations, coal plants have been shuttered at a rapid rate since 2010. In the period 1993 to 2009, retirements averaged 0.36 GW per year and totaled 6.2 GW. In 2020 and 2021, retirements averaged 7.9 GW per year and 95.2 GW in total. Over the next five years, planned retirements will total over 24 GW. All this has been supplanted in part by natural gas. Some facilities converted to gas, but in the period 2011 to 2019, only 29.6 GW was converted to gas while 49.2 GW of coal generation was retired.
Total U.S. electricity generation is around 400,000 million KiloWatt Hours (MKWHrs) per month and has been steady for over a decade. At peak coal in August 2007, coal generated 190,134,816 MKWHrs. During the same month in 2021, coal generated only 101,922,575 MKWHrs. Coal reserves in the United States are 472 billion short tons, more energy than either oil or natural gas. Instead of increasing coal use, we have cut it in half, almost all due to misguided government rules and regulations.
We have an increasing population. The southern part of the USA will require additional electricity for air-conditioning every year. We have a push for electric vehicles that will require more electricity. At the same time, attacks on natural gas follow as coal becomes less of a target. The left is executing its long-held agenda to put us back in the dark ages, and it may succeed this time.