This study assesses the risk of energy accidents using an extensive historical dataset over the period 1800 to 2018, and it evaluates that risk across biofuels, biomass and biogas, coal, geothermal electricity, hydroelectricity, hydrogen, natural gas, nuclear power plants, oil and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), solar energy and wind energy. Our analysis reveals that these collective energy systems involved more than 4450 accidents resulting in more than 278,000 human fatalities and approximately $421.3 billion in economic damages. Across the entire sample, the mean amount of property damage was $286.63 million and 62.50 fatalities per accident, though when reflected as a median, the numbers substantially improve to $6.24 million in damages per accident and five fatalities. We found that coal is the most frequent to incur an accident within our sample, accounting for almost half of accidents. Accidents at hydroelectric dams were the most fatal, accounting for 67 percent of fatalities. Nuclear power accidents are by far the most expensive, accounting for 62 percent of damages. We also used this data to explore three themes, drawn from the energy studies literature, related to technological learning and accident prevention, lifecycle stages, and geography and regulation.
Table 3 shows the number of solar related accidents to be 8 and the number of fatalities to be 9. The study is looking at major energy accidents. Home roof top solar panels are not major energy facilities and not considered major energy accidents. Most major solar energy facilities are located on the ground at solar farms.
Major nuclear accidents are 178 and fatalities are 4,856
Major wind accidents are 339 and fatalities are 130
Major solar accidents are 8 and fatalities are 9
Major coal accidents are 2,428 and fatalities are 55,414
Major oil accidents are 890 and fatalities are 26,215
Major nat gas accidents are 289 and fatalities are 4,090