From an article by Larry Bivins in the Stevens Point Journal:
WASHINGTON — Wisconsin is the nation’s fifth most coal-dependent state for generating electricity, according to a report released this week.
Because the state has no coal supplies of its own, it spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to import the fuel for power generation. Coal imports accounted for 68 percent of all power used in the state in 2008, research by the Union of Concerned Scientists found.
Wisconsin spent $853 million in 2008, or $152 per person, to import 25 million tons of coal from nine states, according to the report released Tuesday.
The state ranked 12th in the amount spent and in the amount of coal imported. Wyoming, which provided 40 percent of all U.S. coal in 2008, received $702 million of Wisconsin’s money.
Coal-fired plants are the nation’s biggest source of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that leading scientists say is causing global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions pose a danger to public health as well as the environment.
The Union of Concerned Scientists report, “Burning Coal, Burning Cash: Ranking the States that Import the Most Coal,” covers 38 states that are net importers of domestic and foreign coal. Those states spent $27.7 billion on domestic and foreign coal imports in 2008, the latest year for which figures were available from the U.S. Energy Department.
Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky produce most of the domestic coal burned in U.S. plants.
The report’s authors conclude that all states would be better served if the money spent on coal were diverted to the development of renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs.