American Electric Power emitted the most carbon from power plants in 2012 — some 141,226,882 tons of CO2 — followed by Duke Energy at 134,277,330 tons, according to a report on US power plant carbon pollution.
Benchmarking Air Emissions says the top five — AEP, Duke, Southern Company, NRG and Tennessee Valley Authority — generate 25 percent of overall electric sector CO2 emissions. Nearly a quarter of the electric power industry’s SO2 and NOx emissions come from just three and four top producers, respectively.
The 100 power producers evaluated in the report represent 86 percent of the electric power generated in the US and 87 percent of the industry’s pollution. Based on 2012 generation and emissions data from the US Energy Information Administration and the EPA, the report is a collaborative effort between Ceres, Bank of America, four power producers (Calpine, Entergy, Exelon and Public Service Enterprise Group) and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and is authored by MJ Bradley and Associates.
Overall the report shows a downward trend in nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxides (SO2), mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2) since 2000, with CO2 emissions decreasing 13 percent between 2008 and 2012. The findings show that the industry is already shifting toward a combination of increased energy efficiency and lower carbon fuel sources, which should help it meet new EPA carbon standards expected to be announced on June 2, says Ceres.
The report also shows wide disparities in CO2 emission rates among states. CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour of power produced were found to vary close to twenty-fold among the states, with Kentucky, Wyoming, West Virginia, Indiana, and North Dakota having the highest CO2 emissions rates, and Idaho, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, and Maine with the lowest CO2 emissions rates.