Thursday, November 12, 2020

Just In Time to Rejoin the Paris Pact

 US CO2 Emissions From Electricity Generation Down to 1980’s Levels… Frac On!

NOVEMBER 10, 2020 - U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2019, mainly in electric generation

After rising by 3% in 2018, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell 3% in the United States in 2019. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2019 analysis, total energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 were about 150 million metric tons (MMmt) lower than their 2018 level. EIA attributes nearly all (96%) of this decline to the changing mix of fuels used to generate electricity.
Here’s the really funny part: The drop in emissions is mostly (61%) due to frac’ing.

Since 1990, the share of electricity generated by natural gas-fired power plants has grown from 12% to 38%. While the share generated by non-carbon fuels (nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, etc.) has only grown from 31% to 38%. Unfortunately, almost all of that growth has come at the expense of our most reliable fuel, coal.

The growth in natural gas-fired generation was made possible by the abundant supply of cheap natural gas provided by the oil & gas industry through the use of hydraulic fracturing (frac’ing) of shale and other tight formations.

And a local example, The Annapolis Capital Gazette, Owner of Brandon Shores and Wagner power plants in Pasadena will stop burning coal by end of 2025

The owner of the Brandon Shores and H.A. Wagner power plants in Anne Arundel County’s Curtis Bay said Tuesday that it will stop burning coal at the facilities by the end of 2025 and convert the plants to provide power with alternative fuel sources.

Talen Energy said the move is a part of an agreement with the Sierra Club to avoid future litigation and permit disputes related to coal. Talen said it will maintain operations in the market and urged policymakers to invest in clean energy and help with their transition.

"Alternative fuel sources?" Unless they're tearing down and burning old Baltimore row houses, the alternative fuel source is certainly natural gas, obtained from fracking, mostly in Pennsylvania. 

I once helped in a water quality study at Wagner and Brandon Shores. They're not awful, considering, but it would be cleaner to burn gas.

Does this mean we can virtue shame the European Union countries whose CO2 production has not fallen by a similar percentage? 

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