Coal has been the leading fuel for energy production for hundreds of years, but the Energy Information Administration believes natural gas will fill that role by the year 2040. Current production trends show gas taking 35% of the electricity market compared to the projected 32% for coal. This brings with it some good news and bad news.
The good news is that natural gas burns cleaner than coal, which means it is better for the environment than using coal for energy production. It is also becoming more widely available in the United States, making it cheaper to produce. Many homes already benefit from the use of natural gas for energy, both heating and electricity. This fast growing sector will see more homes being powered by natural gas.
On the downside, the rapid expansion of the natural gas sector may stunt the growth of nuclear and renewable powers. Coal production is also not dropping, interestingly. The reason for this is that gas is not easily exported to other countries. Since coal will be used less and less for electricity production, more of it can be exported to other countries to supply their energy needs. Coal consumption was also up 5.3% during the first three quarters of 2013 as opposed to the previous year.
Fossil fuel use still accounts for 82% of worldwide energy production and has been unchanged for the past quarter century. The renewable energy sector has seen widespread expansion lately, but this expansion coincides with the fossil fuel expansions. The EIA predicts that fossil fuel’s portion of energy generation will drop below 75% by 2035 as renewable energy continues to grow. Many experts argue that while this is a good move, we need to drop our fossil fuel use significantly more to stem the tide of climate change.
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