EPA GHG Reporting Program Data: Power Plants Were Largest Emitters of CO2 in 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week released, for the first time, data collected under its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Program. The data set shows that in 2010, power plants were the largest direct emitters of GHGs, followed by petroleum refineries. The database was released as the agency continues work on GHG standards for new and modified power plants, which may be released by the end of this month.

The GHG Reporting Program includes data from facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent per year as well as suppliers of certain fossil fuels and industrial gases. Under the GHG Reporting Program, more than 6,700 reporting entities used uniform methods for estimating emissions, which enabled the agency to compare and analyze data. The data is separated into two sections: direct emitters and suppliers of products that release GHGs if combusted, oxidized, or used.

Power plants were the largest stationary source of direct GHG emissions, the EPA’s data suggests. The 1,555 power plants reporting data emitted a total of 2,324 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—or 72.3% of total carbon dioxide emissions reported to the EPA. Refineries emitted 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The five power plants cited with the highest carbon dioxide emissions were Southern Co.’s Robert W Scherer power plant in Juliette, Ga. (22,978,929 metric tons); Southern Co.’s Bowen coal plant in Cartersville, Ga. (21,026,397 metric tons); Alabama Power’s James M. Barry coal and gas plant in Quinton, Ala. (20,752,490 metric tons); Luminant’s Martin Lake coal plant in Tatum, Texas (18,701,286 metric tons); and Duke Energy’s Gibson coal plant in Owensville, Ind. (17,993,350 metric tons).

The EPA also said that carbon dioxide emissions accounted for the largest share of direct emissions with 95%, followed by methane with 4%, and nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases representing the remaining 1%.

The EPA launched the mandatory GHG Reporting Program in October 2009 in response to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008. The purpose of the rule is to collect accurate and timely GHG data to inform future policy decisions, the EPA said.

Sources: POWERnews, EPA

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