Steam coal consumption for U.S. power generation fell 29% from its peak of 1,045 million short tons (MMst) in 2007, to an estimated 739 MMst in 2015, the Energy Information Administration reports. Consumption fell in nearly every state, including Alabama over that period.
“In the U.S., 97% of all steam coal is used to generate electricity,” according to EIA. “With little or no growth in electricity sales in most states between 2007 and 2015, coal use for electricity generation is closely related to coal’s share of total generation.”
In the Southeast, coal consumption in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama in 2015 was half the level it was in 2007. Electric power plants in these states not only reduced their coal consumption, but they also increased their natural gas consumption.
States with the largest declines were concentrated in the Midwest and Southeast, with six states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — in these regions accounting for nearly half of the national decline.