"The average share of electricity generated from coal in the US has dropped from 52.8% in 1997 to 45.0% in 2009. In the first quarter of 2012, the use of coal for electricity generation has declined substantially more, declining 21% from 2011 levels. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 27 gigawatts of capacity from coal-fired generators is to be retired from 175 coal-fired power plants between 2012 and 2016. Natural gas showed a corresponding increase, increasing by a third over 2011. Coal's share of electricity generation dropped to just over 36%. The coal plants are mostly base-load plants and account for about 32% of the peak electricity production in the summer, when the electricity demand is the highest and the auxiliary (mostly non-coal) plants are added to the grid." Wikipedia.\
We get electricity in the United States primarily from coal fired plants, hydroelectric stations, solar power fields, wind turbines, and nuclear plants.
Solar fields, wind turbines, and similar technology is, at this stage, primarily "feel good" generation. Some big solar fields in the Mojave desert do generate significant power but it's not distributed throughout the country, it services areas near the generation location. The same is true of wind turbine fields. They generate power but not on a large scale. Hydroelectric stations, particularly in the West, are failing as water flow continues to decrease each year. At some point, the hydroelectric plants shut down or curtail operations for lack of flow through the turbines, and that's it.
Nuclear plants are no longer being built. The last to be licensed and constructed dates to 1974. Only 13 currently operating plants have been able to renew their licenses to replace aging reactors. (Wiki). We won't be getting more power from nuclear plants any time soon, since the time from conception to operation is approximately 10 years, and that does not include the decades lost to inevitable legal action as lawsuits aimed at preventing construction winds through the court system.
Georgia has a power problem, and we tried to solve it by building four new coal fired plants. The government turned down the license applications. North Georgia gets it's power from the hydroelectric plants operated by the TVA, but South Georgia has always been coal fueled. No one here knows what will happen as more of our existing coal fired plants are taken off line by the federal government, and the power they generated not replaced. The state is growing, our industrial base is growing, but the amount of electricity to service all this is declining rapidly and we have no plans to replace it.
Natural gas fired plants are touted by the federal government as the way to go. What's the only commercially viable way to transport natural gas? We have none here, so it will have to come from a long way away. You aren't going to move that with trucks. Remember the old saw from economics 101. "If it takes a barrel of oil's worth of energy to move a barrel of oils worth of energy, it can't be done."
What that boils down to in layman's terms is that it costs too much to move that much gas in trucks.
What about a pipeline? I worked for a company that owned a pipeline. We operated it from Georgia, with two field hands doing the work in West Virginia, where the pipeline was located. It was less than 40 miles long. The difficulty in getting permits for construction, for crossing land that people did not want you to cross, and compliance with EPA regulations that often were contradictory and conflicting, doesn't bear thinking about.
Nobody is going to be building any natural gas pipelines of any length through this country. The EPA and the courts, along with people who fixate solely on ecological concerns and don't think about how our society will function without power, will see to that. Review the Keystone Pipeline fiasco if you doubt it.
Now Obama and his coterie of philosophers sans experience are trying to bring back "cap and trade", and get rid of more coal fired plants. That will, in a few years, put us into the rolling blackout, frequent brownout malaise that most of the world already endures. Americans aren't going to like it when their air conditioning is shut off in the middle of a scorching day. The power companies know this is coming, and they are preparing. Has your power company offered you "load management programs?" This is a great deal. For them. You get a marginally lower rate per kilowatt hour of use at your house. They get the ability to shut off your freezer, refrigerator, air conditioning, washer, dryer, et all remotely when they need to reduce loads. They aren't going to shut off the chicken plant in the next county, that's a big customer. But you can go soak, especially since your local power company has a monopoly. You can't say "You're fired, I'm buying somewhere else!" It's the power company that calls the shots. Ever so often they trot out this much ballyhooed scheme whereby they will "soon" let you purchase from other distributors, but "soon" never comes.
The only people who don't have to face the future with trepidation as regards the power supply are those who are completely off grid. There are some, like Dani in South Africa, who have actually achieved this. I tried it in 1999 and it was an epic fail. I put in the whole system, including solar cells, a generator, costly low power Sunfrost appliances. It didn't work. Now I'm back on the grid. I use my generator when I have to and I think those occasions are going to increase as we lose generation capacity here but the requirement for power continues to go up.
What your situation will be depends on where you are, and what you can do to protect yourself against black or brown outs, and mandated power shutdowns. The decision makers in DC are driven solely by their personal interests in maintaining their positions. Many of them are complete opportunists and no few of them are just not intelligent enough to understand the system and the law of unintended consequences.
Keep the kerosene lamps ready.