Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions

EIA: Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Power Generation Lowest since 1993

Issue 6 and Volume 120.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation in 2015 were the lowest since 1993, a recent U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report found.

The report published last month showed that CO2 emissions totaled 1,925 million metric tons in 2015, or 21 percent below 2005 levels. The EIA attributes the decrease to a shift in the country’s electricity generation mix, with renewables and natural gas-fired generation displacing older coal-fired assets.

While in 2013 and 2014, both electricity sales and CO2 emissions rose, sales and emissions were both down last year.

The report credits a warm winter for reducing overall demand, while also lessening utilization of marginal generators and lowering natural gas prices.

For seven months in 2015, natural gas-fired power eclipsed its coal-fired counterpart.

The EIA noted that “recent capacity additions have favored natural gas and renewable energy, while retirements have been mostly coal units”. Lower gas prices have spurred industry to adopt combined-cycle technologies as their preferred mode of generation to serve baseload, a burden previously shouldered by coal.