Who knew that in five short years that 200, or 40 percent of, U.S. coal-fired electricity plants have closed down? Even some of the Baltimore-area dinosaur plants have registered to deactivate. No doubt this is excellent news as cheap natural gas, pollution regulations and grassroots efforts are forcing dirty power plants to retire. This translates to cleaner air and fewer health issues, which is good news for Baltimore as a chunk of the closures are in the Ohio Valley, whose pollution floats right into Charm City’s air.
The not-so-good-news is that U.S. electrical power plants are switching to the ‘bridge fuel,’ fracking’s cheap natural gas. Even in Maryland, while some coal-fired plants may retire, five natural gas plants are proposed. Natural gas burns cleaner. But during drilling, fracking leaks global-warming methane like a sieve straight into our climate. Already sky-high global methane levels are rising faster than ever. The $64,000 question: Will we convert to renewable energy fast enough in order to not cook ourselves to death?