U.S. Energy System Depicted in New Mapping Tool From Federal Agency

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently launched a mapping system that allows users to explore the landscape of energy sources and power plant distribution across the nation.

Among the most striking visualizations is this map showing the widespread distribution of natural gas power plants, marking the fossil fuel’s growing use as an energy source.

Natural-gas-power-739Locations of large natural gas power plants in the U.S

The U.S. had 1,714 natural gas power plants in 2012, accounting for 30 percent of the country’s electricity generation, Vox reports. Natural gas plants are easier to build and emit fewer pollutants and roughly half as much carbon dioxide as coal-fired power plants.

The EIA maps depict numerous aspects of the U.S. power system, including the distribution of wind turbines, large solar installations, nuclear power plants, coal-fired power plants, hydropower stations, and pipelines. More energy maps are available at Vox, or users can create their own with the EIA’s tool.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.