One of High Dividend Opportunities’ senior analysts worked on energy issues in Washington, D.C., for many years. He remembers attending a meeting at which one participant enthusiastically embraced electricity as the clean energy cure to all of our problems – “It is absolutely clean. You plug something into the wall and there is no smoke, no radiation, nothing at all – clean as a whistle!!!”
Of course, electricity is relatively clean at the point of end use but that is because the dirty work is done miles away in generating facilities. At the time of the comment (some 40 years ago) coal was the largest source of electric generation and it was not very clean. Thus, switching energy consumption from another source to electricity does not necessarily benefit the environment or stabilize the climate. Everything depends upon how the additional electricity is to be generated.
Since the turn of the century, the most striking change in the generation of electricity has been the transition from coal to natural gas. The table below provides (for 2000 and 2022) the total electricity generation in the United States in billions of kilowatt hours and the amounts generated by various sources. The data comes from the Energy Information Administration.