Did You Know that the Electric Grid is Irish?


MARCH, 2016

Today is St. Patrick’s Day – a day where even people with no Irish ancestry celebrate Ireland and all things Irish. I’m sure we all remember in grade school that if you didn’t wear green, you’d get pinched. Well I’m here to save your LIFE! You don’t need to pinch an electric tower because it is green. Probably the greenest it has ever been. In a way, you could say that today our electric grid in the US is Irish.

According to the US Energy Department’s December of 2015 numbers, coal fired plants produced 27.6% of the grid’s electricity. Power plants that emit no greenhouse gases (Nuclear, hydro, wind, solar and other renewables) produced 37.4% of grid electricity, while low emission natural gas produced 33.8% of grid electricity.

How does the current grid compare to the grid of the past in the United States? In 1950, coal’s share was 46.3% and zero-emission’s share was just 30.2%.

By 1985, coal’s share had risen to 56.7%. That’s more than double coal’s share in December of 2015.

Those numbers may make a coal company executive’s stomach churn and their face turn green, while other countries are striving to emulate the US and they are green with envy. There is a lot of green going around today, and a big chunk of it is our electric grid.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!   (And yes I am 40+% Irish)

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