Friday, August 28, 2015

Carbon Emissions from Power Plants Hit 27-Year Low

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector (Jan 1988-Apr 2015) (Credit: EIA) Click to Enlarge.
As states begin the long task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants to comply with new federal climate policy, a 27-year low in carbon dioxide emissions earlier this year shows the U.S. may be heading toward meeting its emissions goals.

U.S. power plants emitted less carbon dioxide — 128 million metric tons — in April than at any point in since April 1988, according to new U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

That continues a long-term trend of declining electric power sector carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. that began after they peaked at about 250 million metric tons in the summer of 2007. April is the month each year when power plants emit the least carbon dioxide because heating and cooling demand is very low in the early spring.
April’s low emissions numbers happened because, for the first time in history, electricity production from natural gas surpassed electricity produced from coal, which produces greater than 70 percent more carbon emissions than natural gas when it is burned.  That happened only for one month, but as more coal-fired power plants are retired because of environmental regulations and low natural gas prices, the EIA expects more and more electricity to be produced from natural gas.  Electricity production from natural gas has tripled since April 1988.
Alternative energy sources were also factors in the downward trend of carbon emissions this year, according to the EIA.  Nuclear power generation was 3 percent greater during the first four months of this year over the previous year, and renewable power production increased 2 percent during that time over the first four months of 2014.

Read more at Carbon Emissions from Power Plants Hit 27-Year Low

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