Monday, January 16, 2012

North Carolina Power Plants Emit 87% of Greenhouse Gases

If all I want is the score and a few highlights, I tune into SportsCenter, but that seems to be what most news reports are becoming including the ones headlined this week stating that power plants release 72% of greenhouse gases.

So I decided to drill down a bit, specifically, to see if I could find more information specific to where I live.  Fortunately EPA posts the original news release, along with a series of informative PowerPoint slides and fact sheets.NC Emissions In 2010

Actually, power plants, especially those that are coal-fired release 72% of the emissions that EPA began to track in 2010, in cooperation with 6,700 of the largest industrial stationary sources nationwide and this is about 80% of total US emissions. Prior to this EPA could only go by estimates.

As much as I agree with some utility executives quoted in a previous blog who point out that for years many coal-fired plants have been gaming the system, it is important that we keep these new and far more accurate numbers in perspective.

The new information shows that the percentage emitted by power plants is even higher in my adopted home state of North Carolina, where nearly 87% come from that source, equating to 71 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent alone, or about 3% of the total from that source nationwide and placing even more value on the 60% of the state that remains forested as a means of sequestration.

By clicking on this link a breakdown of sources and locations is revealed  including the amount reported by sources where I live such as the City of Durham's sanitary landfill, Duke University and GlaxoSmithKline.

For fun I checked into emissions from Charlotte Motor Speedway which is actually in Concord, NC but I guess gases Charlotte nonetheless. EPA is collecting information from 12 additional industrial categories for 2011.

Protecting the environment is one of the critical roles government plays in partnership with a free market economy and the 2008 legislation that required more accurate reporting is a major step forward for achieving the ability to prioritize and zero in even better on the goals we need to set to reduce this impact.

There are some promising new technologies, such as capturing carbon dioxide from the air using a polyamine –based re-generable solid absorbent.

A new book based on a three-year research project at MIT entitled Unlocking Energy Innovation lays out a 40-year framework for Decarbonizing the US energy system. The book advises against what it calls a “moonshot mentality” in favor of long term widespread public and private collaboration at every level.

Among other things, the book which was published last October argues for a full deregulation of the electricity market to introduce greater competition and help spur more innovation in an area that has been risk-averse, including critical financing.

Another great resource is which is a refreshingly moderate think-tank with a number of pragmatic white papers on how to achieve energy independence.


Anonymous said...

best durham accolade ever

Carly Pride said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carly Pride said...

Greenhouse Gases constitutes to global warming, with North Carolina Power Plant emitting 87% of Greenhouse Gas imagine its effect on global scale.
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Simon Greenwhich said...

I like the idea of using a polyamine –based re-generable solid absorbent in capturing carbon dioxide from the air. This must be one of the best absorbents that can be used to prevent damages in our environment.