Coal is a non-renewable form of energy, which means that its supply is limited and cannot be replaced. So, if many people continue to consume a huge quantity of it as a means of producing power or heat, time will come when its supply will be depleted for good.
On the bright side, coal is being used for producing electricity to power up appliances in your home. Numerous industrial and manufacturing plants even use this form of energy for generating power because of its affordability. Plus, coal is quite abundant even if it is a non-renewable source of energy; it has one of the largest reserves of an energy source in the world. Considering all its uses, it would seem like we cannot live without it.
To end the debates on the matter of the advantages and disadvantages of using coal as energy source, why do not we evaluate each of them ourselves?
What Are the Advantages of Coal?
1. It has a stable price.
Due to the fact that coal energy has a stable price, it is very affordable, unlike any other form of energy on the market. It is also highly abundant that it can be found in huge volumes in large areas around the world. This means that it can be easily sourced for its primary uses.
2. It is easy to burn and is highly reliable.
Coal, like other sources of chemical energy, is known for its easy combustibility. Aside from this, it is also a form of energy that is entailed and presented with reliability, which means it is efficient in producing power for both households and industries.
3. It is affordable.
Aside from its reliability, coal energy is also inexpensive compared to other sources of energy.
4. It produces high levels of energy.
Upon its combustion process, coal can produce high energy levels. Its power generation scale is very high that it makes it possible to build plants of a range of sizes and capacities. For this reason, it is also used to build power stations in various parts of the world. Another reason for this is that coal is a fossil fuel with huge reserves.
5. It is highly accessible and transportable.
Coal reserves are many across the world, so they are easily available. Also, there are already well-established means to transport coal to any place. In fact, transporting it does not require the upkeep of high-pressure pipelines, and there is no extra security when doing so.
6. Its production scales well.
Records show that coal-powered generation scales well, which makes it possible for businesses in the industry to build generation plants in a wide range of sizes. And since coal is a fossil fuel, it can be used to build power stations almost anywhere, as long as there are sufficient amounts of it.
7. It can be used in a range of activities.
Aside from being used in industries, coal has many other uses. In fact, it is versatile enough to be used for recreation, such as BBQs at home or campfires during outdoor adventures.
8. It produces useful by-products.
When you burn coal, you can produce useful by-products that can serve a purpose for individuals and industries. These products can easily and safely be stored and can be taken out to create energy in times of emergency.
9. It will not be affected by atmospheric conditions.
Coal-based power generation is not dependent on weather. This cannot be said for alternative forms of energy, such as solar and wind power. This is great in the sense that we can still utilize coal energy at its maximum power even if the weather goes unfavorable.
10. It reduces dependence on other fossil fuels.
Using coal will make people around the world less dependent on other scarce fossil fuels, such as oil. It is worth noting that oil is often found in nations that are politically unstable, making it more difficult to source.
What Are the Disadvantages of Coal?
1. It leaves a large carbon footprint.
Creating energy from coal produces tremendous amount of carbon emissions that can greatly contribute to climate change and global warming. Aside from this, it is considered harmful to the environment due to the production of other dangerous by-products, such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. In addition, coal burning can cause pollution to the environment, like acid rain.
2. It is highly exhaustible.
According to reports, coal energy is fast depleting as many people in the world are consuming a large amount of it inefficiently. This is bad news, considering that this form of energy is not a renewable one.
3. Its operations alone are a threat to the environment and people’s lives.
Mining coal is said to be ruining our ecosystem and putting many people’s lives in danger, especially miners. Take note that underground mining is very hazardous due to cave-ins and explosions, which are common incidents in this nature of a job. Unstoppable damages can definitely occur when mining coals.
4. It displaces human settlements due to destruction caused by mining.
Coal mines, especially those that are not controlled properly, pose a threat to certain settlements. This is due to the fact that they might trigger incidents that can affect the people nearby.
One good example of this is West Bengal, India, where people are being displaced in huge numbers due to hollowing of the earth, which makes the affected regions unsafe places as the land might cave in any moment without warning. Considering this hazard, governments should do their part vigilantly to monitor and control coal mining activities to make sure every household in their communities are safe, while letting their economy boom.
Sure, using coal as a source of energy has its considerable advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to us, consumers, to weigh down our options and make decisions that would be beneficial to us. One thing is for sure though: let us use this form of energy wisely and efficiently to help conserve it, making it a useful resource for a very long time imaginable.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.