When I address the topic of electricity generation with teachers and students, a key message I aim to to convey is that every energy source used to generate electricity has its advantages and disadvantages. This knowledge is key to evaluating both renewable and non-renewable energy sources for their potential to provide electricity to a growing population and in doing so promotes critical thinking about electricity generation in the 21st century.
Coal, coal w/carbon capture and storage (CCS), natural gas, nuclear, hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal, and solar, are all sources for electricity generation. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently published an Assessment of Relative Benefit / Impact webpage that visually ranks each energy source from more favorable to least favorable with regards to the following criteria:
Details are also provided about each of the above criteria and, by clicking on the energy source of interest, the user is taken to a summary page that further details the extent to which this energy source is used to generate electricity. The Electric Generation Technologies by Region page shows the energy sources used to generate electricity in your region compared to the national average. You can also compare the energy sources used to generate electricity in your region to those of other regions of the country.