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Electricity of Illinois


Corn harvest in Illinois
Corn harvest in Illinois

The industrial and urban areas of Illinois require enormous amounts of electricity, and there is also a great demand for electricity on the state’s highly mechanized farms. Of the electricity generated in Illinois in 2006, 50 percent was produced in steam-driven power plants fueled almost entirely by coal. Another 49 percent of the electricity was produced in nuclear power plants. Most of the coal used as fuel is produced within the state. However, additional supplies of low sulfur coal have to be brought in from other states. In 1998 there were six nuclear power plants in Illinois, of which one was located at Clinton and another at Dresden, and two each were located at Braidwood and Byron. Illinois produces more electricity from nuclear energy than does any other state except Pennsylvania.

Transportation


Chicago is the focal point of the complex system of railroads, highways, waterways, airlines, and gas and oil pipelines that serve Illinois and adjoining states. East Saint Louis, located at a strategic bridging point of the Mississippi, serves as a secondary focus of transportation facilities, particularly railroads. Much of the state’s bulky freight, such as coal, oil, grain, iron ore, limestone, industrial chemicals, and gasoline and other oil products, is transported by lake vessels and barges. The railroads carry bulk freight, especially where rapid delivery is required, and they are also important in the shipment of finished and semifinished products. Trucking companies serve all of Illinois. Chicago is the chief center of trucking activities in the United States. Illinois is served by two of the nation’s busiest waterways, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and the Great Lakes-to-Gulf Waterway.

The extensive Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system, the major inland waterway in North America, permits lake freighters and oceangoing vessels to reach Chicago, a leading American port. The Great Lakes-to-Gulf Waterway provides Illinois with direct water transportation to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Mississippi. The Illinois Waterway, which lies wholly within Illinois, forms part of the Great Lakes-to-Gulf Waterway.

Eleven of the country’s largest railroads and many regional carriers serve Illinois. Many of the lines converge on Chicago and East Saint Louis. Railroad mileage in the state totals 11,809 km (7,338 mi) and exceeds that of any other state except Texas, while far more railroad cars are handled in Illinois than any other state.

Airports


Illinois has 17 airports and airfields, of which most are private facilities. The largest commercial airport by far is Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, on the outskirts of the city. One of the busiest airports in the world, O’Hare is a major transfer point for domestic flights and a port of entry for foreign travelers. It ranks as the nation’s busiest in terms of both landings and passengers handled. "Illinois" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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