When it comes to the fuel of the future, many have been touting the advantages of natural gas for our economy, while others point to alternative energies to lead us into the future. But for some reason, coal rarely seems to enter the conversation, as many feel that it is a dated and no longer dominant resource. That argument seems to be subsiding however, as many are beginning to see the advantages of adopting coal as a larger part of our future energy strategy. After suffering for a few years, however, coal may be poised for a comeback not only in price, but also in prevalence [for more coal news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Coal has been mined across the world since the Bronze Age, becoming an important commodity during Roman times, especially in what is today Great Britain. However, the true Golden Age of coal began with the start of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s. Coal was cheaper than wood for fuel and nearly as abundant, helping to power steam engines across the continent and get the world’s economy going into the industrial age. After the steam engine, coal became an important fuel source for the modern electric utility company, which can trace its start back to the early 1880′s. Once again, coal was an abundant fuel source that was easy to burn and turn into electricity, ensuring that the mineral became one of the most popular ways for mankind to power their homes and businesses.