10 US States Most Dependent On Coal Power

West Virginia is the top coal power dependent state, and the second largest coal producer in the US. Editorial credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
West Virginia is the top coal power dependent state, and the second largest coal producer in the US. Editorial credit: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Coal power accounts for approximately 39% of the US electricity production. Coal has been used to generate electricity in the country since 1882 when the Edison coal power plant was built in New York. Coal became the leading fuel for the production of electricity in the US around the mid-20th century. However, the use of coal began to decline in 2007 because of the increased use of natural gas and stringent environment regulations. Coal remains a precious source of power in most of the US states, with some states depending on coal power almost entirely. Here are the top ten states that depend on coal power.

Top Coal Power Dependent States

West Virginia

In 2014, West Virginia coal-fired electric power plant accounted for 95.6% of the total electricity production. Natural gas and hydroelectric power accounted for only 1.6% and 3.8% respectively. The state was the largest coal producer in 2014 east of Mississippi River and the second largest producer in the whole country. West Virginia ships most of its coal to other states and only 20% to foreign countries.


Kentucky is the fifth largest coal producer in the US, having dropped two places from the previous year. However, 92% of the state’s electricity is generated by the coal plants. With the closing of some of the coal-fired electricity generating plants, Kentucky is likely to reduce its dependence on coal power.


Wyoming is the third most dependent on coal power with 87.3% of the total electricity generated by the coal plants. Wyoming is the largest coal producer in the US. With the increased awareness, the state is likely to reduce the use of coal power.

Other Top 10 States

Indiana, Missouri, and Utah are also top coal power dependents with 84.5%, 82.4%, and 76.2% respectively of their power generated by the coal plants. Indiana is the eighth top producer of coal in the US. However, the state’s consumption of coal for electricity plunged between 2007 and 2015 following the retiring of the older coal-fired plants with Indiana dropping from third to fourth consumers of coal power in the country. Missouri’s electricity generation is dominated by coal. It is the fifth largest coal power producer in the country. The emphasis on the use of renewable energy has significantly reduced the consumption of Utah.

North Dakota, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Wisconsin complete the list of top ten dependents on coal power with each of the state’s coal power accounting for 75.1%, 66.8%, 63.2%, and 61.3% respectively. North Dakota accounts 3.2% of all coal production in the US. In Mississippi, two of the largest power plants are coal powered.

Reviving Coal Industry In The US

The successive governments before Donald Trump’s administration have worked closely with the Environmental Protection Administration to advance restrictions on coal plants to counter the global warming. However, shortly after taking over the presidency, Trump signed an executive order dismantling Obama’s clean power plan, a move that has been criticized by environmentalists who view it as an attempt to revive the coal industry. The supporters of the executive order view it as a means of creating more jobs in the fossil fuel sector. Some states like New York and California have both opposed the move. As to whether the executive order will revive the fading coal industry or not is a matter of time

10 US States Most Dependent On Coal Power

RankUS StateShare of electricity generation from coal (2014)
1West Virginia95.6%
7North Dakota75.1%

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