In traditional coal-producing states, alternative energies like nuclear power, natural gas and renewable sources have quickly started to replace coal for producing electricity.
From 2008 to 2018, top coal states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana have seen noticeable reductions in the use of coal for electricity. West Virginia saw a modest decline of 4 percent, while Kentucky and Indiana both saw over 20-point reductions in the use of coal. Other top coal states, like Utah and North Dakota, saw massive declines. Wyoming was the only state that has seen increases in using coal for electricity, going from 94 percent in 2008 to 96 percent in 2018.
Coal production and employment in the U.S. have dropped significantly over the last two decades, as a surge in natural gas production and increased interest in environmental protection have driven coal mines to record-low outputs. Many experts expect coal usage for electricity to continue to be phased out over the next decade in favor of cleaner and more abundant resources.