Timeline of energy use in the US

  • Coal is found

    Coal is found
    (no exact date) In what is now Richmond, Virginia, coal was found by settlers on the James River.
  • First Natural Gas Well Drilled

    First Natural Gas Well Drilled
    (no exact date) In Fredonia, New York, William Hart dug the first well that was meant to supply natural gas. *picture shows a gas street lamp*
  • Coal Replaces Wood

    Coal Replaces Wood
    (no exact date) The coal industry really began when the first commercially practical American-built train was made, burning coal instead of wood. Very soon after, almost all American trains were converted to use coal.
  • First Commercial Oil Well Drilled

    First Commercial Oil Well Drilled
    While searching for oil in Pennsylvania, Edwin Drake decided to drill for it using a small steam engine instead of digging for it. On the 29th of August, at 71 feet, he hit it. This was the beginning of America's first oil rush.
  • First Electric Plant

    First Electric Plant
    The first electric plant was built near Wall Street in New York by Thomas Edison. He started up America's first power plant around 3:00 pm.
  • First Hydroelectric Plant

    First Hydroelectric Plant
    The first hydro-electric station to supply energy to a system of people was placed in Appleton, Wisconsin.
  • First Windmill

    First Windmill
    (no exact date) Developed by Charles F. Brush in Cleveland, Ohio, was the world's first windmill able to generate electricity.
  • World's First Geothermal Plant

    World's First Geothermal Plant
    (no exact date) Although these geysers in California were discovered early on in the 1800's, they were not used as a source of energy until 1921 when John D. Grant drilled a geothermal well. However, due to materials and the difficulties of drilling for the geothermal steam during this time, this resource was not comparable to other energy suppliers that were low in cost and easier to develop.
  • Hoover Dam Built

    Hoover Dam Built
    (no exact date) After four years of construction the world's largest hydroelectric power plant, the Hoover Dam, was completed on the Colorado River in Arizona.
  • First Nuclear Reactor Produces Electricity

    First Nuclear Reactor Produces Electricity
    Built in Idaho, this nuclear reactor became the first the produce useful electricity.
  • First Commercial Nuclear Power Plant

    First Commercial Nuclear Power Plant
    In Shippingport, Pennsylvania, the first large-scale nuclear plant in the world began opperating. This happened exactly 15 years after the first nuclear reaction to produce useful electricity was demonstrated.
  • First Solar-Thermal Power Plant

    First Solar-Thermal Power Plant
    (no exact date) Solar One, located in Daggett, California, begins its first test of a large-scale thermal solar power plant. This way of collecting power was focused around using the sun's energy to produce heat and run a generator.