Do You Know Where Your Electricity Comes From?

January 14, 2011

where does electricity come from

Is it from the wind turbine you’ve read about in a nearby town or from the dirty coal plant up the street?

The experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists were wondering the same thing, so they put some of their researchers to work finding the answer. The result were startling: many U.S. utility companies are spending billions of dollars to import coal while neglecting local efficiency and renewable resources.

To help spread the word, UCS launched a new web quiz to educate all of us about the sometimes outrageous choices utility companies make about how to power our lives.

It’s a neat little tool, using great infographics to show just how much money flows out of U.S. states so that they can pollute the air with coal fired power plants.

While some of the statistics are shocking, it was most disheartening to see the UCS devote so much energy to endorsing biomass energy sources (wood and plants) as an alternative to coal rather than wind or solar. While they might “burn cleaner” killing trees and plants for fuel is almost as futile as burning fossil fuels. Plus, we won’t really know if biomass is clean or dirty for a few more years.

Image Credit: Flickr – Samuel M. Livingston

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3 Responses to “ Do You Know Where Your Electricity Comes From? ”

  1. Mike Lieberman on January 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

    This is a topic that I definitely want to educate myself more on. I kind of get it, but a bit over my head. This post is def a good starting point for me.

  2. Beth on January 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Hi Mike! Thanks for the comment. It’s completely counter-intuitive to think that you could have a wind farm or solar field in your town, but your power could still be carted in from halfway across the country.

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