Incline and Decline with Natural Gas and Coal

May 12, 2017
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People need energy to light their homes, drive cars, refrigerate their food, and work on computers and phones, but where does it come from? Two major resources used to supply the electricity needed every day are coal and natural gas. Coal has long been the number one source of energy for the U.S., but having many qualities that could be improved upon, natural gas is instead being forecasted to overtake coal in the upcoming years.

One reason why natural gas could be more favorable than coal in the future is because it is less costly for consumers. For example, the article “Gas And Renewables Toppled Coal A Decade Early” states, “That achievement is due, at least in part, to low natural gas prices and increasingly inexpensive renewable generation technologies” (para 12). This suggests that most Americans tend to buy things that are easier on their wallets. Perhaps if coal was cheaper, it would become more popular than what natural gas is right now. Natural gas also surpasses coal in that it already respects policies to protect the environment. For instance, the article “Natural Gas Poised to Surpass Coal For Electricity in U.S.” says, “Many utilities are quickly making the transition away from coal in favor of natural gas to meet environmental regulations” (para 12). This quote implies that many power companies are forced change their main focus to natural gas in order to follow these new regulations. With this new development, coal could become even less favorable in future years, because natural gas already complies with the environmental safety rules, and it’s easier for utilities not to change from one thing to another. Finally, coal-based sources for electricity are decreasing as they are damaging to many environments. To explain, the same article says, “Utilities have been routinely retiring coal-fired power plants in recent years as they’ve had to comply with new mercury emissions standards” (para 5). These emissions have polluted the atmosphere for a very long time, so no wonder natural gas facilities get better feedback. More of these new developments and coal might even drop lower on the charts of top sources for energy.

To conclude, coal is currently declining as a major electricity resource while natural gas is taking the lead. The reason why is that natural gas is becoming more favorable. It conforms to regulations for environments, it’s much cheaper, and it doesn’t create as many greenhouse gases, like emissions of mercury, as coal does. Coal as a power source is still reducing in importance and is expected to continue doing so in the recent future.

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