Coal-fired power to steadily drop over coming decade
The database tracks greenhouse gas emitters from sectors releasing more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in the form of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other heat-trapping gases. The 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act requires that large sources and suppliers of greenhouse gases report emissions.
Approximately 57 gigawatts of generation -- 16.8 percent of the 339 GW of total coal-fired generation in 2010 -- will be retired between 2010 and 2022, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Reasons for the closures vary from plant age to the lower cost of natural gas, decreased demand, consent degrees, settlements with EPA complaints and the projected costs of future regulatory compliance.
The top emitters have hardly changed from year to year, and seven of 2010's biggest carbon polluters are in the 2011 list. About 1,300 new facilities were required to report for the first time this year.
Last March, EPA proposed the first regulations to control carbon emissions from newly built power plants. The agency is expected to finish that rule this year and propose additional standards for existing power plants.
EPA must also propose a greenhouse gas rule for oil refineries, the third-largest emitters according to the most recent data. While the evidence from new sources is telling, EPA has yet to analyze the data in greater detail.
"It's still too soon to draw broad conclusion about this data," said Sarah Dunham, director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs at EPA.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500