In the midst of the gridlock in Washington, DC, where Congress has been unable to reach a deal on the fate of the nation’s electric cooperatives, it’s easy to forget that electric cooperies are also a critical part of our economic future.
And yet, there’s a lot of talk in the corridors of power about the possibility that the GOP gridlock will cause more economic harm than good.
If the grid holds, we’re all in for a lot less economic growth than we’ve seen in recent years.
If Congress does not act, the cooperative sector will face a significant decline in its market share.
As the co-op market grows, so will the role of private utilities in the U.S. grid, and the role electric cooperys play in the economic health of our communities.
We need to make sure that co-ops can survive, grow, and thrive in the face of these challenges.
But what does this mean for the coop sector in the United States?
Will the cooperatives continue to thrive?
And if so, how will this impact the rest of the economy?
To understand this, it helps to go back to the start of the coal industry.
Coal was the primary fuel used to power the industrial revolution.
It provided a steady source of power and heat, as well as a way to build a factory.
Coal had a long and tumultuous history in the mid-19th century, as many people in the coal mines believed that it was the most effective form of energy for manufacturing.
But the Industrial Revolution took a turn for the worse in the early 1900s, when the technology of steam power was invented.
With steam power, coal mines began to operate on the power of electricity, rather than coal.
And by the 1930s, many coal mines were shut down.
This left a large number of coal miners out of work, with the economy in a precarious state.
The economic crisis of the 1930’s was also the era of industrialization in the country.
Industrialization meant the ability to manufacture goods and services that were previously made by manual labor.
The United States was in the midst or a major industrial power.
Coal, however, was one of the last industries that were built on the back of the slave labor that existed in the mines.
The rise of the automobile and the rise of mass production made it very expensive to build and operate factories, and so many coal mining jobs were eliminated.
As a result, the coal mine workforce shrank dramatically.
The collapse of coal and the decline of coal mining in the late 1920s and early 1930s meant that the coal mining industry in the Western United States had essentially been shut down for the last half century.
Coal mining jobs are no longer a part of the American economy.
Today, only a handful of states still have coal mines.
Most coal mining is located in the Appalachian region of the U, with some in the Midwest and the South.
In addition, many states have shuttered coal plants or coal-fired power plants.
The coal industry has lost an estimated $7 trillion to the U as a whole since the Great Recession.
While the coal-mining industry has been decimated by this downturn, the mining industry has also experienced significant growth.
In 2015, the U produced about 6.4 billion tons of coal.
Today it is producing about 12.6 billion tons.
Coal production and output grew by nearly 40 percent between 2005 and 2020.
In 2025, the United Kingdom had about 7,200 coal mines, while the United Arab Emirates produced 3.5 billion tons and Pakistan produced 3 billion tons per year.
By 2020, coal production in the UK and the United Emirates were nearly identical, but coal production and exports were about $2,700 and $1,300 per ton, respectively.
By 2025, coal was the fourth largest export product to the United Nations.
It also accounted for about 17 percent of the energy produced in the world.
In 2019, the number of U.N. members was nearly 11,000.
Since then, the size of the United Nation has grown by a staggering 1,300,000 members.
By 2021, the total membership had nearly doubled.
In 2024, the world produced roughly 5.6 trillion tons of oil, gas, and coal.
This represents a massive amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and it accounts for about one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the entire world.
The U.K. and the UAE produced nearly three-quarters of all the coal in the global economy in 2025.
The total amount of coal produced in 2017 was nearly one-fifth of the total global output of coal that year.
The majority of coal is mined in China and other Asian countries.
But since the beginning of the 21st century, the production of coal has continued to rise in the West.
According to the Coal Association, the value of coal in 2017 had increased by nearly 8 percent, while in 2020 it had increased nearly 6 percent.
As of 2019, China