America’s 100 biggest power producers on track to meet new EPA emission standards

Clare Saxon Ghauri
29 May 2014

NEW YORK: America’s power industry is adopting cleaner, more efficient energy and is well positioned to meet new government carbon standards, finds a report released today.

Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States 2014 was produced by a group of power companies and organizations including non-profit Ceres.

Comparing air pollutant emissions of 100 of the nation’s biggest power companies – which together represent 86% of US-generated electric power and 87% of the industry’s pollution  the report discloses the downward trend in greenhouse gas emissions being seen across the sector. 

Not only were nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions in 2012 shown to be down an impressive 74% and 79% respectively on 1990 levels, the report says carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decreased 13% between 2008 and 2012 across the 100 power producers.

The decline is explained to be partially due to energy efficiency improvements and the power plants' steady transition from coal generation to clean energy sources.

Looking across the whole electric sector, authors report renewable energy electricity generation increased 31% since 2010, despite a dip in total electricity generation.

State-by-state analysis shows large differences between CO2 emissions, with Idaho, Maine, Oregon, Vermont and Washington boasting the lowest emission rates of all US states (see map below).

Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres, comments: “The electric power industry is firmly on the path toward a low carbon energy future, and history shows that it is not only capable of meeting new pollution limits, but that it can do so while keeping our lights on and our economy growing. EPA’s proposed standards will stimulate further investment in low carbon, low-risk resources like renewable power and energy efficiency.”

This coming Monday the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is scheduled to propose new carbon standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants in order to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions, but the report's findings put the power industry in good stead for meeting EPA's targets. 

Emissions state carbon

Read Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States 2014 

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By Clare Saxon

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