Domestic coal use drops as exports grow

The country's electric utilities increasingly are turning to natural gas over coal. But the country's coal industry is still booming as exports reached record levels last month.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: June 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm •  Published: June 20, 2013

But while coal use is slowing in the United States, it is booming in other parts of the world.

China and India together are building, on average, four new coal power plants every week. In 2011 alone, China added more coal plants than there are in Texas and Ohio combined.

The global demand for coal has offset domestic declines, leading coal exports in March to set a record of 13.6 million short tons, nearly 900,000 more than the previous record set just two months earlier, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The government expects 2013 to mark the third straight year of more than 100 million short tons of coal exports.

That's good news for the country's coal producers. But increased coal usage in countries with little environmental regulation likely will lead to higher global emissions levels, regardless of what is happening here.

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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