Skip to main content

Burning Coal, Burning Cash: 2014 Update

World Coal,

The 2010 Burning Coal, Burning Cash report has been updated. The report ranks the 37 coal-importing states in the US, highlights the rapid changes taking place in the US energy landscape, and provides recommendations for states to move toward a cleaner, healthier and more affordable energy future.

Ranking the states
The 37 coal-importing states collectively spent US$ 19.4 billion on coal imports in 2012. Eight states spent more than US$ 1 billion each.

Texas tops the list of most coal import-dependent states, spending US$ 1.85 billion on imported coal, followed in order by:

  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Missouri
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • South Carolina
  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin.
Most states dependent on coal imports are located in the Midwest and Southeast.

Coal imports on the decline
Coal imports and coal-fired power are on the decline. Across the US, coal-fired electricity fell from almost half of the US power supply in 2008 to 37% in 2012.

Between 2008 and 2012, expenditures on coal imports fell by nearly a quarter, from US$ 25.7 billion to US$ 19.4 billion. The amount spent on coal imports from other countries dropped by 75%, from 16 states importing US$ 1.8 billion in 2008, to just seven states spending US$ 464 million in 2012.

This decline in imports comes as more utilities switch off their coal-fired power generators in favour of natural gas and renewable energy.

Case study: Georgia
Despite having no domestic coal supplies, Georgia relied on coal for 33% of its electricity generation in 2012 and spent almost US$ 1.7 billion on imported coal from other US states. Georgia's coal imports have declined since 2008, when the state relied on coal for 63% of its electricity and spent more than any other state on imported coal.

Georgia Power, the state's largest power provider, spent US$ 1.1 billion on imported coal in 2012. Georgia Power's parent company, Southern Company, ranks first among all US power providers for coal import dependency in 2012, spending over US$ 2.2 billion on imported coal across its major subsidiaries in four southeast states.

In 2013, Georgia took a strong step toward becoming a leader in solar power when it approved plans for Georgia Power to procure 735 MW of solar power capacity through 2016.

Case study: Michigan
In 2012, Michigan generated 49% of its state electricity from coal, despite having no domestic coal supplies. In order to supply that power, Michigan's power producers spent almost US$ 1.2 billion on importing 21 million t of coal from other US states, primarily Wyoming.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

Read the article online at:

You might also like


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):