Pacific Science Center

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PacSci-Doku: “Demise of Coal”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What is causing a dramatic decrease in the use of coal?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

E  O  I  R  W  w  D  P  N


PacSci-Doku: "Demise of Coal"

Puzzle Difficulty: Easy

The Answer
PacSci-Doku: "Demise of Coal" AnswerThe question in this edition is:

What is causing a dramatic decrease in the use of coal?

The answer: Wind Power

Ten years ago, coal provided almost half of the nation’s electricity. Wind power and other forms of renewable energy (e.g., solar panels, hydroelectric) are now projected to produce more electricity than coal in 2020 – a first since records have been kept. Some of this is driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for electricity has fallen sharply as restaurants, offices, factories and stores have closed across the country. But it is not just the reduced use of electricity that caused this trend. Since 2010, the cost of building wind farms has dropped by 40%, and the cost of solar panels by 80%. Coal will probably not dramatically rebound, even after the pandemic is over, much to the delight of those advocating lower CO2 emissions. Read more about surging use of renewable energy sources.

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