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Cleantech
Report:
American Electric Power, Duke Energy, Three Others Emit 25% of U.S. Electricity GHGs

American Electric Power, Duke Energy, FirstEnergy, Southern Company and Tennessee Valley Authority generate a quarter of all electric sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; however, some of these producers have significantly reduced emissions in recent years, according to a recent Ceres report.

American Electric Power, Duke Energy, FirstEnergy, Southern Company and Tennessee Valley Authority generate a quarter of all electric sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; however, some of these producers have significantly reduced emissions in recent years, according to a recent Ceres report.

The report also found that Idaho, Vermont, Washington, Oregon and Maine have the nation’s lowest GHG emissions rates while Wyoming, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and North Dakota have the highest — but overall U.S. emissions are in decline.

The Benchmarking Air Emissions report is the latest in a series highlighting environmental performance and progress in the nation’s electric power sector. While the report is typically published every two years, ongoing changes within the industry, such as pollution control retrofits and new emissions regulations, has led to a streamlined version of the report based on 2011 generation and emissions data from the Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“The electric power industry is moving to cleaner sources of energy, demonstrating that cleaner power generation is achievable,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, which sponsored the report with NRDC, Entergy Corporation, Exelon, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, PSEG, Tenaska and Bank of America. “Stronger regulations will reinforce those trends and stimulate further investment in low-carbon, low-risk resources like renewable power and energy efficiency.”

Each edition of the report analyzes the latest emissions from the 100 largest power producers in the U.S. This year’s report showed that the top 100 power producers together accounted for some 86 percent of the electricity produced.

The report also provides company-specific emissions trend information from 2000 through 2011 for the four largest power generators, illustrating the range of approaches that power companies have used to reduce emissions, including adding scrubbers to coal-fire plants, bringing natural gas plants online and adding wind and solar generation capabilities, among others.

“Power plants are America’s largest source of global warming pollution,” said Dan Lashof, Program Director of Climate and Clean Air at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The good news is that their emissions have declined significantly since their peak in 2007, but we still have a long way to go. The Benchmarking Report provides a valuable scorecard, allowing citizens and policymakers to compare the performance of individual companies against others in this critical industry.”

In another Ceres report released earlier this year, the investor advocacy group found only one out of eight insurers said they have in-depth climate change strategies, based on 184 company disclosures responding to a climate risk survey created by insurance regulators in California, New York and Washington.

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