EIA: CO2 emissions from US power sector have declined 28% since 2005
24 December 2018
US electric power sector CO2 emissions have declined 28% since 2005 because of slower electricity demand growth and changes in the mix of fuels used to generate electricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA calculated that CO2 emissions from the electric power sector totaled 1,744 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2017, the lowest level since 1987.
Source: US EIA, US Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2017
In the United States, most of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions have been in the power sector. Since 2005, as power sector CO2 emissions fell by 28%, CO2 emissions from all other energy sectors fell by only 5%. Slower electricity demand growth and changes in the electricity generation mix have played nearly equal roles in reducing US power sector CO2 emissions.
US electricity demand has decreased in 6 of the past 10 years, as industrial demand has declined and residential and commercial demand has remained relatively flat. If electricity demand had continued to increase at the average rate from 1996 to 2005 (1.9% per year) instead of its actual average rate of -0.1% per year, US power sector CO2 emissions in 2017 would have been about 654 MMmt more than actual 2017 levels.
If the mix of fuels used to generate electricity had also stayed the same since 2005, US power sector CO2 emissions would have been another 645 MMt higher in 2017.
The power sector has become less carbon-intensive as natural gas-fired generation displaced coal-fired and petroleum-fired generation and as the noncarbon sources of electricity generation—especially renewables such as wind and solar—have grown.
The substitution of natural gas for other fossil fuels has largely been market-driven, as ample supplies of lower-priced natural gas and the relative ease of adding natural gas-fired capacity have allowed it to pick up share in electric power generation in many markets. In 2016, natural gas generation surpassed coal as the largest source of electricity generation.
Increases in electricity generation from noncarbon power sources since 2005 also had an effect on emissions from power generation. This growth has been driven largely by state policies and federal tax incentives that encouraged adoption of renewables.
In 2005, noncarbon sources accounted for 28% of the US electricity mix. By 2017, that share had grown to 38%. Almost all of this growth was in renewables, including wind and solar, as shares for other noncarbon sources such as nuclear and hydroelectricity remained relatively flat.
Over the ten-year-period from 2007 top 2017, the average price of electricity to residential consumers increased 21%—from 10.65¢/kWh to 12.89¢/kWh, according to the EIA. That slightly outpaced the overall rate of inflation of 17% over that period.
The decrease in demand would principally be due to the move to LED lighting, which the article should have at least noted.
Posted by: NorthernPiker | 24 December 2018 at 08:34 AM
Very encouraging to see that over 50% of the CO2 reduction was due to lower electricity consumption, but USA is still the number 11 country with the highest per capital consumption (12071 kWh/year). A lot more could be done by changing the building codes, refurbishing old houses, replacing old inefficient ACs with SEER 32 heat pumps, replacing all old thermostat with up-to-date digital programmable units, replacing all remaining lights with very high efficiency LEDs etc.
If nothing is done, the arrival of 100,000,000+ electrified vehicles may reverse the trend?
The relative growth of REs is also encouraging.
Posted by: HarveyD | 24 December 2018 at 10:06 AM
Also, let's give some credit to frackers.
The fuel mix would have increased coal, rather than the decrease that has reduced CO2.
Posted by: Steve Reynolds | 24 December 2018 at 10:31 AM
Moving off coal to gas is a good economic, intermediate solution until gas can be replaced and/or reduced by RE. Gas is a good standby backup in case the RE resources fail.
Posted by: Lad | 24 December 2018 at 11:53 AM
"Over the ten-year-period from 2007 top 2017, the average price of electricity to residential consumers increased 21%—from 10.65¢/kWh to 12.89¢/kWh ..."
It is still incredibly cheap.
How much would you pay for electricity - how far would you go before disconnecting from the grid ?
20c, no, 30c - no, no - the Danes, Germans and Belgians pay this.
At 50c, you might start to see a lot of solar, at $1, you might see solar backed by batteries and generators.
IMO, electricity is still far too cheap for the US to really economise - Leds and CFLs are easy decisions, they are now very cheap and 5-8x better than incandescents, but after that, the easy changes are hard to find.
Posted by: mahonj | 24 December 2018 at 03:37 PM
People will do whatever profits them. If they can generate unreliable, unpredictable PV at 25¢/kWh and get paid for every joule while the grid charges them 26¢, a fair number of people will do it even if the externalized costs mean it doesn't actually make sense. The bigger the personal profit, the more will go for it.
Existing nuclear plants are a lot cheaper than brand-new "renewables", but the incentive structures are set up to kill nuclear by encouraging vast amounts of unreliable "renewables" which put the nuclear plants out of business due to different subsidies and mandates. This is a system that is designed to destroy the nuclear power industry (which has 0.07 deaths/TWh compared to gas at 2.82) by legal requirements having NOTHING to do with reality.
Save the world, shoot an anti-nuke.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 24 December 2018 at 06:37 PM
Deaths per TWh from NPPs is certainly over estimated while deaths and various illnesses per TWh from CPPs/NGPPs is under estimated.
The safest energy is most probably from REs but anti-REs will find ways to prove otherwise? One thing is certain, cost of clean 24/7 REs is going down at a very fast rate and will soon be the safest source of abondant low cost clean energy.
Meanwhile mini (transportable) CPPs may be ideal for isolated small communities in Northern Canada and Alaska, if and when cost ever come down?
Posted by: HarveyD | 25 December 2018 at 09:24 AM
O.K. I'm happily guilty.
When I installed a modest solar system there was a subsidy in place 60 c kWh / 4 year and paid ~24 c . Since then the cost of that system would now provide me with a system ~5 times as big. And the mug punters retail price of grid e is up a few cents to ~26/8. The wholesale price of solar in Australia is south of 4 c kWh.
2 c kWh is expected.
My grid service costs effectively double the cost per kWh as I don't use that much having solar hot water no air con or heating etc.
I was aware then that the cost for following installations would come down if the market could be stimulated but by 5 times or more is very pleasing and it would seem that there are more reductions coming.
No need to thank me , there are thousands or millions in many countries that did the right thing.
Yes I do am also a beneficiary of my actions.
With regards to fracking and gas generators it's funny how cherry picking the numbers can give one any outcome that may be seen desirable.
The electricity sector rightly can claim a tailpipe emissions reduction.
I like the fact that the gas plants have a much faster demand response than coal 3-10 mins compared to 40 for comparison purposes while hydro is low minutes and batteries in low seconds or fractions of a second effectively as fast as the response signal can be sent.
There are many credible reports that suggest fugitive emissions across the U.S. make gas dirtier than the cleaner running coal plant.
That is unfortunately difficult to prove - not because there are any questions regarding the observations but because when the extent of these became apparent across the oil and gas industries the gathering or more correctly reporting of the data was BANNED by the govt agencies.
At the same time as very cheap sensors became available and the international community understood the critical imperative to keep co2 emissions down.
At the same time as the bullshit artists and fakers were extending their success at stealing the future of every species and attempting to crash dive the ethics of a generation.
One only has to read the previous posts to see how effective they have been.
It's one thing to write in the fashion of ranting madmen, but the test is to check for yourself and if you find error make the criticism with supporting evidence so we can all learn.
Its a big task to research multiple claims and attach that to every single post to support a claim which I guess is why there in no such in the above comments.
Posted by: Arnold | 25 December 2018 at 02:53 PM
I do offset 24c kWh for the solar that I consume.
That is I pay nothing for that which I generate and consume and for that I export I get ~ 8ckWh while Still paying the same as every other customer for the poles and wires.
For new connections it is 90% time cheaper to go off grid with battery but for existing connections battery storage and PV is rule of thumb viable in ~ 10%.
It is expected that re subsidies will continue to phase out over the next decade but as that is a lever related to national or other mandated emissions targets can be expected to play a part (as it is low hanging fruit) while ever the emissions problems (from any source) requires tweaking.
Posted by: Arnold | 25 December 2018 at 03:20 PM
No, it's from nuclear. Wind is about 0.15 deaths/TWh; solar is several times as high. Nuclear is about 0.04-0.07 even including Chernobyl.No it isn't, because
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 25 December 2018 at 04:32 PM
Given the amount of gas that the industry knows it loses from old, leaky systems, this is a certainty in the short term. On top of this you have the 2.82 fatalities/TWh from gas and you are better off with nuclear.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 25 December 2018 at 04:32 PM
What E-P said.
Posted by: Nick Lyons | 26 December 2018 at 04:25 PM
Nothing really wrong with well regulated NPPs installed in safe places, well built and well maintained, including used fuel. The real negative is the astronomical total cost of new units ($0.25+/kWh) produced and sold.
To compete against future lower cost REs, NPPs initial/refurbishing and maintenance cost will have to be divided by 3 to 5 times and that may never happen?
Posted by: HarveyD | 27 December 2018 at 09:54 AM
The anticipated price from the NuScale project for UAMPS is $65/MWh (6.5¢/kWh). Even if doubled by overruns, that's HALF of the number you're pulling out of your troll ass, Harvey.
Plenty wrong with hyper-regulating NPPs while fossil plants go almost ignored and "renewables" aren't forced to take blame for the emissions and hazards of their required backups. Had the fossil industry not been allowed to pull this bait-and-switch, we'd have far more nuclear and far less emissions of all kinds today.
Your "RE" (which really isn't R once externalities are incorporated) requires many times the same cost to achieve the same reliability of delivery as NPPs. Even if the energy is free, you can't store it. There isn't enough water or reservoir volume for pumped hydro, and batteries are prohibitive even at 1/10 today's prices.
Now stop lying and stop trolling, Harvey. Provide links for your claims and do your math. If you can't, DON'T POST.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 27 December 2018 at 09:10 PM
E-P may never admit the very high (unknown) real total cost to produce every kWh from new NPPs vs other sources.
The time required and direct building cost of the latest NPPs being built in Finland, France, England and USA have been grossly underestimated (as usual) by the Nuclear Industry. The deviation of the misleading estimations (for the above) varies a lot depending on who collects the information. Since most of the exterior cost components such as ,adequate insurances, taxes, property value, environmental damages, used fuel safe and proper management, long term financial cost, generous subsidies, negative neighboring impacts, refurbishing cost, ongoing maintenance and engineering cost, total safe decommissioning cost etc.
A serious study by the Austrian Institute of Ecology (among many others) found that the real total cost of e-energy produced by new NPPs is between $0.46/kWh and $2.83/kWh using lowest cost possibilities.
Even in China, where building and fabrication is faster and cost is often much lower, has reduced new NPPs building rate in favour of lower cost quicker to build and refurbish REs.
On the other hand, I will admit that so far, most NPPs have been relatively safe and casualties have been low. However, total effect on all living creatures has not been fully established yet. The world will never know the reasons and full extend of the Russian disaster.
Slow turning very large wind turbines installed on higher towers (in proper places) and high efficiency solar panels (in sunny places), coupled with very high efficiency electrolysers and FCs could produce enough energy to meet most of the world demands 24/7, while supplying affordable clean H2 for future FCEVs (cars, SUVs, Pick-Ups, Trucks, Buses, Various machines, Trains, Ships, Boats, Drones, Light aircraft) etc.
Posted by: HarveyD | 28 December 2018 at 03:08 PM
Harvey tries to deflect from the (very high, only partly known) externalized costs of his "renewables". There is a reason that "free, renewable" energy mandates are always accompanied by rising prices.
To be specific, the time and cost burden of governmental over-regulation and "environmentalist" lawfare wasn't accounted for correctly. It never could have been until the first units were built.
We can see the difference between friendly and hostile governments; China is friendly, Western governments are almost uniformly hostile. First AP1000 in USA, first concrete poured 2013, estimated in-service date 2021 (construction is now running ahead of schedule); Haiyang 1 construction start September 2009, commercial operation August 2018. Olkiluoto EPR, construction started 2005, estimated commercial operation now 9/2019; Taishan 1 excavation begun 2008, commercial operation 2018.
You provide no link, and those numbers are simply insane. Very trollish of you.
Hogwash. The whole world is radioactive and the radioactivity varies quite a bit by region. We know the effects that high natural radiation has on humans and wildlife: between zero and somewhat positive. Whatever disaster came from Chernobyl is long since over and done with. On the other hand, the disaster of paranoid policy-making is on-going and measurably getting worse.
So now you're back to hypedrogen being the stockpile of energy required to keep the lights on, fresh water treated, sewage pumped, elevators and hospital equipment humming, and also replace petrolelum vehicle fuels. What happened to whatever was going to make hypedrogen a small part, and its faults insignificant? Keep your lies straight, Harvey.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 30 December 2018 at 10:21 AM
A few hundred studies, on the TOTAL REAL high cost of nuclear e-energy, have been done and are available, and so is the one by the Austria Institute of Ecology.
The low death rate or fatalities from NPPs i not the reason for the high cost.
Facts are, that the total initial and refurbishing cost of REs are going down (at a fast rate) and NPPs are going the opposite way. Less than 15 countries have enough resources to support (very few) very high cost NPPs while up to 100 are investing into much lower cost clean/safe REs.
Currently, as many NPPs are (unfortunately) closing down as new NPPs are being (slowly) built. If the current trend is maintained, REs will produce more energy than remaining (operational) NPPs in the near future. When all private REs are considered, the cross over point may have been already reached. REs may produce 50+% of e-energy used by or before 2050.
Of course, H2 production, storage and usage, for fixed and mobile applications, will be a key factor in the rapid growth of REs and FCEVs..
Posted by: HarveyD | 30 December 2018 at 02:01 PM
Most of them using totally fraudulent data such as the Storm & Smith study.
Which you STILL WILL NOT LINK. Cite your source SPECIFICALLY or admit you're just a liar.
True. They were still amazingly safe when they were cheap. What drives the cost today is lawfare and paranoia grown from decades of anti-nuclear and pro-ruinable propaganda.
LCOE, Levelized Cost Of Energy, goes down. But a great deal of that energy is literally worthless; LACE (Levelized Avoided Cost of Energy) is much lower than LCOE. The lousy capacity factor of ruinables always requires fossil fuels to fill in when it isn't available. When counted against the 80% or greater emissions reduction required to get to carbon neutrality, the ruinables are literally worse than useless compared to nuclear.
Just build RMBKs and don't do stupid tests with them and everything will be fine. All this requires is literally piles of graphite blocks with uranium fuel in water-filled steel tubes. It gets even easier if you use heavy water. You can use thorium in the mix and breed fuel if you want.
RMBKs produce power and heat 24/7. Ruinables are grossly unreliable, which the fossil industry depends on to guarantee its market share unto eternity. Stop shilling for the fossil barons, Harvey.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 31 December 2018 at 06:11 PM
Come on E-P, calling me bad names will not help your cause.
Facts remain that the cost e-energy from new NPPs has gone up considerably and is now higher than from most REs, specially from new very large wind turbines on higher towers in the right places. The cost of energy from large solar farms is also going down and is now much lower than from new NPPs.
The latest estimates on energy cost from smaller modular reactors-SMRs (by 2030 or so) will also go up and be 50% to 100% higher than energy cost from todays news large NPPs. That is not very good news.
Thirdly, China (Yunfu Park and other places) is investing heavily in fuel cells and FCEVs (cars, trucks and buses) and electrolisers to produce enough H2 for 2,000,000 FCEVs by 2030. China's energy mix is also changing towards more energy from REs.
It may be unfortunate but most of the world seems to be moving away from clean, reliable nuclear energy because of increasing cost. Large subsidies, like the $3+B from the British Government, may not be enough to produce nuclear e-energy at a low enough price to compete with REs.
Posted by: HarveyD | 02 January 2019 at 02:01 PM
Calling you out for what you are is essential to clear thinking.
You mindlessly repeat propaganda terms like "5-5-5 batteries". You make outlandish claims and never link sources. You contribute nothing of value and I'm tired of your trolling.
The first-of-a-kind efforts have had teething pains, and problems from hostile regulators. Did you know that the Vogtle and Summer expansions were hit out of the blue by a mandate to redesign the reactor buildings thanks to anti-nuclear activist Gregory Jaczko who was forced onto the NRC by machinations of some New England pols?
KEPCO has built several of its latest design and the progress at the Barakah site is ahead of schedule and under budget. THAT is where US nuclear plants would be without "environmentalist" lawfare and tortious interference from regulators.
As has been explained to you many times, ENERGY is what wind plants and PV farms produce, in fickle surges and dips per the weather. POWER ON DEMAND is what people require to keep our society going. The two are not remotely similar, and you're chronically guilty of obfuscating the difference.
Another unsourced, outlandish claim. CEASE AND DESIST, HARVEY.
"Plans" which have no legal requirements to carry through on them, and can be changed any time and without notice. Meanwhile, China sells 2.5 million vehicles in a MONTH... and that was a major decline from 11/2017 sales.
Most of that cost comes from anti-nuclearism. The first-of-a-kind units are so expensive because the paranoia purveyors like UCS, FoE and Greenpeace shut down the construction industry for so long. France's current fleet is based on Westinghouse designs, but today's Westinghouse has no one with any experience getting plants all the way into operation. People are still getting paranoid over Fukushima and even Three Mile Island, which have a combined radiation death toll of exactly zero. Had the world continued to build nuclear plants at the pace of the early 1980's, we could have saved millions of lives by eliminating coal-fired power.
Meanwhile, oil and gas-rich UAE moves toward nuclear power. The UK is almost out of oil and gas in the North Sea and really doesn't have a choice. The question isn't whether they need nuclear, but how badly they'll suffer if they botch the new builds.
SMRs are one of the few emission-free things which can not just light northern cities, but heat them as well. If the choices are imported LNG at $15/mmBTU or a NuScale producing 120 megawatts of usable space heat, the NuScale saves over $6000 of heating fuel per HOUR. If you can sell 1/2 of that heat you've got a second revenue stream of almost $27 million a year per unit. That comes to additional revenue of over $500 million over a 20-year amortization, when the unit cost at $4200/kW(e) is only about $250 million. SMRs are poised to pay off hugely, not just in fuel costs and climate benefits but in clean, bright, warm cities even in the depths of winter.
Notice that I'm linking my sources? Up your game.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 03 January 2019 at 04:33 PM
The 50% to 100% increase per kWh of usable energy produced by SMRs over new large NPPs was from Bloomberg a few weeks ago. Contact them for more information (if your are truly interested). I agree with you that the surplus heat energy could be used in Northern Cold cities, if you have a distribution system in place. No so, in small and larger cities further south.
Once again, I'm not against nuclear energy perse but against the overgrown price of the effective energy produced. We are used to much lower cost abundant Hydro/Wind clean energy in our region and I fully agree with the temporary/permanent shut down of the local CANDU because it is/was not required, specially in a period of extended surpluses of clean Hydro/Wind energy and it was too costly to refurbish.
Even at higher cost, a limited number of NPPs could stay as part of the energy mix. It may be the price to pay for base load in areas without adequate Hydro with huge water reservoirs like we have.
Lower cost storage to make a mix of REs available on a 24/7 basis is coming in the near future (2025/2030). Extended range BEVs/FCEVs may also benefit because they may/will use the same lower cost clean energy storage technologies.
Posted by: HarveyD | 04 January 2019 at 01:41 PM
It is NOT MY JOB to support YOUR ARGUMENTS. It is YOUR JOB. If you cannot find your source, your claims are BASELESS. Either support them or STFU.
So much of what you claim is outright wrong that you shouldn't be allowed to reference a source without providing a URL which contains supporting text that you have to quote in your post, or it gets bit-bucketed.
So much of this comes from demands for illusory "safety" that the advocates should be prosecuted for treason. Do you know the energy-related disaster with the highest death toll in history? It was a dam failure in China. How many Quebecois are downstream of equivalent dams, Harvey?
You didn't have wind until just recently, and unless it is countercyclical with rainfall it is worthless in addition to hydro. Few hydro reservoirs can hold the full annual flow so they have to run turbines heavily in the spring melt to avoid overtopping the dams. If your period of peak wind is at the same time of year, you guarantee a lot of un-storable generation with no consumers.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 11 January 2019 at 09:22 AM
GOVERNMENT (driven by paranoid activists) creates those costs. Who demands ever-more "safe" storage of spent fuel? It's not the industry. Who demands ever-higher "security" around nuclear plants? It's not the industry. In the US, the NRC demands that worker radiation exposure be ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achieveable, where "Reasonably" is pushed ever-downward literally without reason as no harm has ever been demonstrated). Security demands have been escalated to the point where each nuclear site has to be able to repel what amounts to a military assault! Isn't it the GOVERNMENT'S job to keep hostile militaries at a safe distance? Why is one, and only one, industry saddled with the cost of protecting itself from such attacks while everyone else gets to rely on the public's paid-for armed forces?
Get rid of all that. Get rid of peculiar QC standards like NQA-1. Allow nuclear plants to operate as normal industrial operations. That will get rid of your higher costs.
One of the things that makes you so fscking irritating, Harvey, is that YOU CAN'T EVEN READ THE GRAPHS OF THE PIECES YOU CLAIM AS SUPPORT FOR YOUR POSITION. The "lower cost storage" is suitable for HOURS at most. "Renewables" need MONTHS, because surpluses and deficits occur on SEASONAL and even longer periods.
Mike Milliken needs to ban your (senile, propagandist: pick one) ass from this site.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 11 January 2019 at 09:24 AM