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This Week in Freudenfreude: Old King Coal Is Not Merry Old Soul Anymore

There was a time when coal was America's most important fuel source. This was excellent when it came to a speedy rise as an industrial power. It was less excellent for the environment. Or for all the miners and factory workers who died of black lung disease and other such conditions.

The day of coal eventually passed, although some states did not get the memo. West Virginia leaps to mind most readily, but so too do Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Montana. Still, sooner or later, the folks in that industry are going to have to leave the 19th century behind and join the rest of us in the 21st century. Even if one doesn't care about the negative impacts of the extraction and use of coal, the fact of the matter is that the underlying economics rarely make sense anymore.

This week, it was announced that in 2022, the U.S. reached a rather notable milestone on this front. To wit, that was the first year that the country generated more energy from renewable sources than it did from coal. To be more precise, 20% of the nation's energy came from coal, while 21% came from renewable sources.

The most important source of renewable energy, at least right now, is solar. And the leader in that area is the pinko commies in California. Right behind solar, however, is wind. And the leader there is... Texas (which is also #2 in solar). If the state that relies most on the petroleum industry can begin to reorient itself, then surely the states that rely on coal can begin to do the same.

This is not to say that the journey forward will be easy, or will advance at a consistent pace. The biggest problem that must be overcome is that American electrical grids are built based on the notion that the supply of energy will be steady and uninterrupted. That's very doable with coal or oil, but it's trickier with an energy source that is only productive when the sun is out or when the wind is blowing. That said, this problem will be overcome (primarily by deployment of batteries or other means of storing power). One method used in some circumstances is to use solar-powered electric pumps to pump water uphill to a reservoir when the sun is shining and let the water flow downhill to turn hydroelectric turbines when it is not. And for those who are concerned about the environment, which really should be everyone, it's good news that between the desire to save the planet and cold, hard economic truth, things are headed in a positive direction.

And finally, we have a mountain of content on deck, including lawyer-reader comments on the Trump case, feedback from French readers on the pension issue, a piece from our British correspondents, the piece that will use penis_on_penis_off.jpg and, of course, the bracket competition. But, as you can see, it was a big, big news day. And, on top of that, (Z) wrote every word you see above with a (mild) concussion. Anyhow, given that we're already at 5,000+ words and we're already way past our preferred publication time, we're going to have to stop here. But we promise that content is coming, and we appreciate your patience. Have a good weekend! (Z)

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