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Coal, Wind, Water, and Solar Energy (1900-Present)
8 months ago
The U.S. Bureau of Mines was created to help reduce accidents in mines.
Mechanical coal-loading equipment replaced hand loading and increased productivity.
Coal was used by many industries, homes, steam-driven trains and ships.
Congress passed the Federal Coal Mine Safety Act of 1952, which increased the number of safety inspections in mines.
Coal had become the major fuel used by electric utilities in the United States to generate electricity. (Today, it is still the leading fuel for electricity generation.)
Surface mines replaced underground mines as the leading source of coal produced in the United States. The importance of surface mining has continued to grow since that time.
Kentucky became the leading coal-producing state.
The OPEC oil embargo focused attention on the energy crisis and resulted in an increase in demand for U.S. coal.
Wyoming displaced Kentucky as the leading coal-producing state.
The United States coal production topped 1 billion tons a year.
The United States sponsored a $1 billion, 10-year demonstration project to create the world's first coal-based, zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen power plant.
Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, promoting the use of coal through clean coal technologies.
Coal production set a record high with 1.16 billion short tons. Wyoming continued to dominate coal production in the United States.
The Reclamation Service was formed to manage water resources and was given the authority to build hydropower plants at dams.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established to take charge of the hydroelectric potential of the Mississippi River in the Tennessee Valley.
Boulder Dam (later renamed the Hoover Dam) began operating on the Colorado River. The hydropower plant produced up to 130,000 kilowatts of electricity.
Almost one-third of the Nation's electricity came from hydropower.
Conventional hydropower plant capacity nearly tripled in United States since 1940.
The United States ranked among the Top 4 countries in the world for hydroelectric generation, along with China, Canada, and Brazil. These countries generated 44% of the world's electricity from hydropower.
Between 6% and 10% of U.S. electricity comes from hydropower
Energy was scarce during World War II so passive solar buildings became popular in the United States
A "solar furnace" was constructed in Odeillo, France; it featured an eight-story parabolic mirror.
Dish/engine systems convert the thermal energy in solar radiation to mechanical energy and then to electrical energy
Federal regulations that govern the size of solar power plants were modified to increase maximum plant size to 80 megawatts from 30 megawatts.
The first solar dish generator, using a free-piston Stirling engine, was tied to a utility grid.
Windmills in California pumped saltwater to evaporate ponds. This provided gold miners with salt.
Most windmill companies in the United States went out of business.
High oil prices increased interest in other energy sources, such as wind energy.
Because of a need for more electricity, California began using a contract system that allowed certain renewable and c ogeneration facilities to lock into rates that would make electricity generated from renewable technologies.
Many wind turbines were installed in California in the early 1980s to help meet growing electricity needs
Many of the hastily installed turbines of the early 1980s were removed and later replaced with more reliable models.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 strengthened incentives for wind and other renewable energy sources.
Wind power provided 5% of the renewable energy used in the United States.
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