According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest coal data, the 36.7 million short tons of coal consumed in Indiana during 2019 was more than any state in the nation besides Texas and North Dakota. Indiana accounted for 6.5% of the total coal consumed in the United States in 2019.
Coal has been the largest energy source consumed in Indiana since 1960, when EIA’s state-level records began, and it accounted for 35% of the energy consumed in the state in 2018, a larger share than in all but six other states. Coal’s share of energy consumption in Indiana peaked at 57% in 2001, but it has since declined.
More coal is consumed in Indiana than is produced. Almost all of the additional coal consumed in the state comes by rail and barge from coal mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Wyoming.
Coal is consumed primarily to generate electricity in the United States. Of the 10 largest power plants in Indiana, 8 plants are coal-fired. Indiana’s electric power sector accounted for 31 million short tons, or about 84%, of the state’s total coal consumption in 2019.
Indiana’s consumption of coal to produce electric power peaked in 2008 at 61 million short tons and has since declined, following the nationwide trend of decreased coal consumption for electricity generation. At the same time, consumption of natural gas in electricity generation and generation from renewables have increased as coal-fired plants have retired or been operated at lower rates.
In 2010, 18.4 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired electric generation capacity were located in Indiana; however, 3.4 GW have retired since 2010, and another 5.8 GW of the state’s coal-fired capacity are scheduled to retire in the next decade, according to planned retirement timelines compiled in EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory.
Most of the rest of the coal consumed in Indiana is used by industry. Indiana is a top steel manufacturing state, and some of the coal used in the state is delivered to coking plants that supply the state’s steel industry. Industrial sector coal consumption peaked in 1972 at 20.1 million short tons and most recently measured 5.7 million short tons in 2019. Only the industrial sectors in North Dakota and Pennsylvania consumed more coal in 2019.
Principal contributor: Brett Marohl