|Power Plant CO2 Emissions Hit 27-Year Low in April|
According to a Today in Energy snapshot released August 5 by the Energy Information Administration, carbon dioxide emissions from power plants hit a 27-year low in April. Carbon dioxide emissions from power plants typically fall to their lowest levels in April, The EIA said that emissions from coal-fired utilities declined 18 percent while emissions from natural gas units declined 6 percent. Electricity generation from natural gas units surpassed generation from coal that month as well, the EIA said.
Burning coal to generate electricity produces more than 70 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than generation from natural gas, and coal-fired utilities emitted 89.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in April while gas-fired units generated 36.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The EIA said some of the carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector are attributable to a growing use of natural gas to generate electricity since 1988. Since then, natural gas consumption in the power industry has more than tripled, renewable energy consumption has doubled and consumption of energy from nuclear power plants increased 47 percent, the agency said. During that same period, coal consumption decreased 17 percent. As a result, electricity generation has increased 44 percent while carbon dioxide emissions only increased 4 percent.
The EIA's Today in Energy for August 5 is available at http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=22372.