This interesting news arrived from Appalachian Voices, the North Carolina-based organization that is one of most creative and effective national leaders in the campaign to get beyond Big Coal:


The coal industry and their associated front groups like to claim that coal provides more than half of our electricity. This was once true, but has not been the case for several years. As we’ve reported throughout the year, the importance of coal in our national electricity generation is declining at a pretty remarkable rate. EIA just released their numbers for May 2009, and once again coal is down. The year to date numbers are staggering. From January-May 2009, coal produced just 45.4% of our electricity, and the monthly numbers are getting lower and lower. In the most recent recorded month (May) coal was down to 42.6% of electricity generation.

Here’s a nifty graph, though do note that the actual numbers in 2009 reflect electricity generated only from January through May:

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Although there has been an incredible rise of renewable production (especially wind) and other sources, coal is still the dominant source of electricity production in the US.

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According to the EIA Executive Summary Report:

The drop in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific decline from May 2008 to May 2009 as it fell by 22,980 thousand megawatthours, or 14.8 percent. Declines in Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and West Virginia, accounted for 60.7 percent of the national decrease in coal-fired generation. The May decline was the fifth consecutive month of historically large drops in coal-fired generation from the same month in the prior year, though it was not as precipitous as the drop of 15.3 percent in March or the decline of 15.1 percent in February. The May national level decline was the third-largest percentage decrease in generation since 1974.

For more information on Appalachian Voices, see here.

To read the Executive Summary of the EIA report, visit here.