municipal or privately owned units, and combine
for only 19 MW.
5. California — 1 percent
Natural gas-fired plants, nuclear facilities and
hydroelectric dams combine to satisfy 85 percent of Californians’ electricity needs. The growing renewable energy sector, which encompasses
geothermal, wind and solar, supplies most of the
Five Surprising Coal Generators
Five years ago, coal-fired power plants produced
around 50 percent of Virginia’s electricity. But with
renewable energy and hydroelectric sources still
satisfying less than 5 percent of demand, it has been
the natural gas industry that has most capitalized on
coal’s gentle decline.
Hydroelectric dams on the Missouri River produce
most of the state’s power — but the river isn’t reliable. In high-water years, the dams supply upwards
of three-quarters of total electricity generation. In
dry years, most recently in 2008, South Dakota’s
two coal-fired plants generate more than half the
Electricity generation in Florida is among the highest in the United States, owing to high demand for
air-conditioning and the nation’s fourth-highest
population. Florida now gets about 55 percent of
its power from natural gas, just over a quarter from
coal and about 13 percent from nuclear plants.
More than three-quarters of Hawaii’s electricity is
generated by petroleum-fired power plants. The
next largest source is the state’s single coal power
plant, a 203-MW facility on the island of Oahu.
Hawaii’s geothermal, solar, wind and tidal resources
show much promise and are being pursued to cut
dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Alaska has abundant coal reserves, but the industry has lagged behind the more successful natural gas and petroleum suppliers. While about
17 percent of the state’s electricity comes from
hydroelectric sources, other renewable industries
are still in their infancy. The remaining 83 percent
of electricity generation in Alaska comes from
fossil fuel sources, including natural gas plants
and petroleum and coal-powered generators. ST
District of Columbia
generation from coal
n Over 75%
Copyright © 2011 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.