Environmental Permitting

Sector Highlights from the 2013 Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program

Sector Highlights from the 2013 Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program

In 2013 1,572 power plants reported, which is down from 1,589 in 2011 and 1,601 in 2012. This sector consists of facilities that produce electricity by combusting fossil fuels and/or biomass and the emissions from this sector are solely from stationary fuel combustion sources, although carbon dioxide from biomass combustion is not included in the total.

Of the total 3.18 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2e) greenhouse gases reported by direct emitters in the United States in 2013, 2.1 billion metric tons CO2e were emitted by the power plant sector, the nation’s top emitter of GHGs by a significant margin. Broken out by individual GHGs, the power plant sector was responsible for:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) – 2,088.7 MMT CO2e of, up from 2,076.2 MMT CO2e in 2012, but down from 2,208.0 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • Methane (CH4) – 3.7 MMT CO2e, the same as 2012 emissions but down from 4.2 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • Nitrous oxide (N20) – 8.4 MMT CO2e, up from 8.2 MMT CO2e in 2012, but again, down from 9.2 MMT CO2e in 2011.

Next in the total emissions lineup is the petroleum and natural gas systems sector with 224 MMT CO2e of the total. As noted yesterday, this sector has the greatest number of facilities reporting, with a total of 2,164, up from both 2012 and 2011 numbers of 2,073 and 1,913, respectively. The sector is comprised of onshore and off shore production, natural gas processing, transmission, distribution, and underground storage, liquefied natural gas import/export terminals and storage, and other stationary fuel combustion sources of emissions.

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In 2013, this sector reported total emissions of 224.1 MMT CO2e, down from 226.4 MMT CO2e in 2012, but increased from 223.1 MMT CO2e in 2011. Sector emissions for 2013 by GHG are:

  • CO2 – 150.0 MMT CO2e, up from 146.3 MMT CO2e in 2012 and from 138.8 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • CH4 – 74.0 MMT CO2e, down from 80.0 MMT CO2e in 2012 and 84.1 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • N20 – 0.1 MMT CO2e, the same as 2012, but down from 0.2 MMT CO2e in 2011.

Within the petroleum and natural gas systems sector, the largest number of reporters, 503, were in onshore production and report the greatest emissions at 94.8 MMT CO2e. At the other end of the scale, liquid natural gas storage had just five facilities reporting with total emissions less than 0.05 MMT CO2e.

The petroleum refinery sector ranked third in 2013 for total GHG emissions with 176.7 MMT CO2e from 145 facilities. In 2012 the sector had 147 facilities reporting 174 MMT CO2e, down from 149 facilities reporting 178.3 MMT CO2e in 2011. By individual GHG, emissions from the sector in 2013 were:

  • CO2 – 175.2 MMT CO2e, up from 172.6 MMT CO2e in 2012, but down from 176.9 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • CH4 – 1.0 MMT CO2e, up from 0.9 MMT CO2e in 2012 and 2011.
  • N20 – 0.5 MMT CO2e, the same level as both 2012 and 2011.

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Next in line was the chemical sector which in 2013 ranked fourth for total GHG emissions with 174.6 MMT CO2e from 473 reporting facilities. This sector is comprised of manufacturers of organic and inorganic chemicals and is divided into subsectors for fluorinated and non-fluorinated chemicals. In 2011, the sector had 458 facilities reporting 179.2 MMT CO2e of GHGs and in 2012, 467 facilities reported 170.9 MMT CO2e. Broken out by subsector in 2013, non-fluorinated chemical facilities emitted 161.1 MMT CO2e and fluorinated chemical facilities emitted 13.5 MMT CO2e.

Together, the sector was responsible for the following specific GHG emissions in 2013:

  • CO2 – 146.9 MMT CO2e, up from 142.8 MMT CO2e in 2012 and in 2011.
  • CH4 – 0.2 MMT CO2e, the same level as in 2012, and down from 0.4 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • N20 – 14.9 MMT CO2e, down from 16.2 MMT CO2e in 2012 and 21.2 MMT CO2e in 2011.
  • Fluorinated GHGs – 12.7 MMT CO2e, up from 11.7 in 2012, but down from 14.9 MMT CO2e in 2011.

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