Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | March 26, 2009

Kentucky environmental lawyer Sanders says Kentucky coal is used to generate electricity in 30 different states, including 92% of electricity in Kentucky.

According to state government statistics, about 89.3% of all of the coal mined in Kentucky in 2006 was used to make electricity. Kentucky’s coal is burned to fire boilers at electric power plants located in 30 different states. Indeed, almost 80% of all the coal mined in Kentucky is sold out-of-state each year.

Here in Kentucky, there are 22 major coal-burning electric generating plants, and 92.2% of Kentucky’s electricity is generated from coal. 

In simple terms, here is how coal is used to make electricity:  coal is burned to create heat.  The heat from burning coal boils water to create steam.  Steam turns a turbine which spins a copper coil called a generator (or dynamo) which creates a flow of electricity.  The electricty is physcially routed to a grid and then into your home or office.

It is a truly fascinating process that uses chemical energy to make mechanical energy that creates electrical energy. 

Note that a generator does not truly create electricity, which is already present in the electrons of the copper wire of the generator’s windings.  A generator forces electrical charges to move from the copper wire windings to an external electrical circuit.  It is somewhat analogous to a water pump, which creates a flow of water but does not create the water inside.

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