The first edition of the newly-ina- gurated Carnegie Mellon Power Sector Carbon Index indicated
emissions from U.S. power producers
has declined 24 percent since 2005.
The index, sponsored by Carnegie
Mellon University and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, indicated electrical
sector emissions reached 1,001 pounds
of CO2 per MWh in the fourth quarter of
2016, which is an increase of one percent
compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.
The report concluded that, overall, the
entire power sector is getting cleaner and
more efficient, even with the rise this year.
“A lot of people would be surprised
to hear that, since we usually hear bad
news about climate change,” said
Paul Browning, CEO of Mitsubishi
Hitachi Power Systems. “In fact,
Carnegie Mellon Power Sector
Carbon Index Shows 24
Percent Decline From 2005
we’ve made quite a bit of progress in the
Coal generation rose 12 percent year-
over year to 31. 8 percent of total gener-
ation, while natural gas generation fell
nine percent to 30. 6 percent of total
Even with the rise in generation,
carbon intensity of coal and natural
gas both fell by two percent to 2231
pounds of CO2 per MWh for coal and
930 pounds of CO2 per MWh for natural gas.
Renewable generation rose seven percent to 16 percent of total generation,
while nuclear rose four percent to 20. 6
percent of the total.
Even with President Trump’s order
to revisit the Clean Power Plan, Browning said he expects that trend to continue,
as emissions from new generation have
been dropping since the second Bush ad-
ministration thanks to renewables and
growing efficiencies of gas turbines.
“We feel that it’s markets and tech-
nologies that are driving this trend,”
he said. “Government regulations are
important to this trend, but it’s less im-
portant than markets and technology.”
Browning said he’s an alumnus of
Carneghie Mellon and serves on the
dean’s advisory board, though the com-
pany considered multiple universities
for partnership on the carbon index.
“Ultimately we were very impressed
by the faculty we brought forward on
this project,” he said.