Coal and Electricity

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Coal is a black or dark brown, combustible sedimentary rock. It contains greater than 70% carbon-rich material by volume. Since the 1880s, coal has been burned to produce electricity, and today, the electric utility industry is the largest consumer of coal in the nation. The coal used in Ohio for electricity generation comes from a variety of sources including the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, northern and central Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and Colorado. The specific blends of coal that each coal-fired power plant utilizes are a function of fuel cost, fuel cleanliness, and energy-generating potential. For example, coal mined from the Pittsburgh (No. 8) coaL seam in Eastern Ohio may be inexpensive to transport and possess high energy potential per ton, but it has greater sulfur content that could make meeting regulatory standards more challenging.

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  • Fact Sheet


  • critical issues, database publication, coal, energy, mining, ohio