Though we cannot celebrate Zenobe Gramme’s birthday April 4 with a big party jam-packed with friends, we will raise a glass to the great inventor of the electric motor. There had been toy-sized motors before 1873. But when Zen and his sidekick Hippolyte Fontaine – Hipp for short – accidentally reversed an electric generator that year, they happened upon a real motor to power the second industrial revolution.
The U.S. grid’s coal-fired power plants produced 966 million megawatts-hours in 2019. This is remarkable, the first time in decades that coal plants produced less than a billion megawatt-hours. And this number is forty-eight percent down from coal plant production nine years earlier, in 2010.