This week, one of the biggest coal mining companies in Central Appalachia, Patriot Coal, filed for bankruptcy protection. Over the past three months, a wave of layoffs has hit coal country hard, and this past month, the share of all U.S. electricity generated from coal hit its lowest level since the 1940s. Our colleague Guy Raz visited Webster County in the middle of West Virginia to find out what's killing King Coal.
Most Americans use electricity, gas or oil to heat and cool their homes. But the small city of Brainerd, Minn., is turning to something a bit less conventional: the sewer.
As it turns out, a sewer — the place where a city's hot showers, dishwashing water and organic matter end up — is a pretty warm place. That heat can generate energy — meaning a city's sewer system can hold tremendous potential for heating and cooling.
It's just that unexpected energy source that Brainerd hopes to exploit.
Diplomatic ties between New Orleans and South Africa are being renewed after a break 33 years ago over Apartheid rule. An honorary consul’s main concern will be shepherding a $10 billion energy plant to completion in southwest Louisiana.
From the series: Burn: An Energy Journal. Host Alex Chadwick tackles one of the most important energy questions facing America: Are we running out of oil? This hour long broadcast is pegged to the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.