Five Minutes in a Coal Mine
Thursday, May 12, 2016
It’s no wonder coal is a hot issue on the campaign trail already. Dominating the US power sector by producing 40% of our electricity, coal is a powerhouse in our economy. (Natural gas comes in at a distant 26% and nuclear at an even more distant 20% of electricity generated annually.)
But while candidates argue for and against the coal industry, it’s probable that none of them have stepped foot inside a coal mine. In fact, it’s pretty unlikely that most Americans understand how coal goes from being embedded in rock miles below the surface of the Earth to the power that recharges their smartphones.
A few things that people would probably appreciate about coal:
· Coal is abundant, making it a reliable and affordable power source
· The US has more energy stored in coal deposits than in oil reserves
· Each person in the US uses the energy equivalent of about 3 tons of coal annually
Coal is essential to the US economy. Without a regular supply of coal, electricity would stop flowing to households, businesses, and manufacturing plants across the country. That would mean no lights, heat, television, or Internet for almost 50% of the time—not to mention the impact it would have on transportation and communication services.
While it may be difficult, or even impossible, to take everyone who uses electricity into a coal mine for a little show and tell, there are sources that can help Americans better understand the ins and outs of mining coal.
The next time someone questions the need for coal, share this very succinct video from The Science Channel for some quick facts and an interesting trip through a coalmine.
And whenever you need electrical power distribution equipment, controls, and light fixtures for mobile and stationary equipment, give us a call. Our products are designed for both surface and underground mining, and for installations in the coal, salt, precious metals, potash, trona, other metal/non-metal mining industries.