Texas relies heavily on other states’ coal, and keeps all its own

Texas received the most coal of any state in the country in 2015, while none of the 36 million short tons of coal produced in Texas leave the state, according to the latest coal distribution report released by the U.S. Department of Energy this week.

The majority of Texas’ coal, or 55.2 million short tons, came from Wyoming. Coal mines in Colorado, Virginia and Oklahoma gave Texas a combined nearly 800,000 short tons of coal in 2015.

As with other  states, Texas uses nearly all of its coal for electricity generation, and the remainder goes to industrial plants. Nearly 70 percent of the nation’s coal is transported by railroad, and nearly 93 percent of it is used for electricity.

Much of Texas-produced coal is known as brown, or dirty, coal, and comes from lignite, considered a low-quality coal due to its low heat content and high carbon content.

The low quality of Texas coal has played a role in the shut down of one of the state’s largest coal mines, the Jewett Mine, between Houston and Dallas. In August, NRG Energy pulled a contract with the mine to switch to cleaner-burning coal from the Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, the nation’s biggest source of coal. As a result, the Jewett mine owner, Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal, said  cut the mine’s roughly 250 jobs in December and January.