US Power Sector Emissions

955 lb CO2/MWh

as of 2017 Q1
  • +1% since 2016 Quarter 1
  • -24% since 2005

US Power Sector CO2 Emissions Intensity

US Generation by Fuel Type

The Power Sector Carbon Index

The Power Sector Carbon Index provides an estimate of the carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity of the U.S. power sector using publicly available data sources. Carbon intensity is measured in pounds of CO2 per Megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity. The index was created by researchers in Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, with support from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems.

Featured Article

How Will the March 2017 Executive Order Affect the Power Sector?

In March of 2017, an Executive Order was signed that, among other things, starts the process of rolling back the Clean Power Plan. In light of that, we review what the Clean Power Plan is, what are its goals, why were the emissions reductions established, and finally how the Power Sector Emissions Index will help track the carbon intensity of electricity before and after this Executive Order.

Featured News

A Power Sector Carbon Index that Tracks An Energy Transition

To track the progress on reducing the emissions intensity of electricity, our interdisciplinary research team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation launched the Power Sector Carbon Index. The index uses publicly accessible data to create an easily understood, analytically transparent, and timely summary of the current trends in U.S. power sector CO2 emissions intensity and electricity generation.

How The Index Is Calculated

The Power Sector Carbon Index of the U.S. power sector is the ratio between the direct emissions generated from all electricity generation sources from the U.S. electricity sector in a given time period, and the total net electricity generation in that time period. The index is computed for yearly, quarterly and monthly time periods. Index values are given in pounds (lb) or kilogram (kg) of CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh), representing the CO2 emissions intensity of electricity in a specific time period. Since 2005 is often used as a benchmark year for measuring progress made in reducing emissions, the index also provides the percentage change between the current value and the annual value in 2005. Additional details and a report outlining the methods and data are available at the link below.