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Hail Shale: CO2 Emissions From U.S. Power Sector Drop To Lowest In 30 Years

Because of the increased use of natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector were at their lowest in 30 years, a government report read.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported total fossil fuel consumption in the national power sector was at its lowest level since 1994.

“Changes in the fuel mix and improvements in electricity generating technology have also led the power sector to produce electricity while consuming fewer fossil fuels,” its report read.

EIA anticipates a 29 percent share for coal in total electricity generation in both 2018 and 2019, down from the 30 percent last year. The share for natural gas, meanwhile, grows from 32 percent last year to 34 percent through 2019.

For renewables, save hydroelectricity, the share was slightly less than 10 percent last year and grows to nearly 11 percent next year.

Coal consumption in the power sector last year was at its lowest level since 1982. More coal was consumed than natural gas in the power sector, but gas-fired plants generated slightly more power than coal-fired ones because they’re slightly more energy efficient.

The changing energy mix, meanwhile, is impacting levels of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide.

“Because coal combustion is much more carbon intensive than natural gas combustion, CO2 emissions from coal were more than double those from natural gas in 2017, even though natural gas provided more electricity generation,” EIA’s report read.

The change means total CO2 emissions from the nation’s power sector were at their lowest level since 1987.

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