Thursday, January 12, 2012

N.C. power plants and greenhouse gases

No surprise here, but coal-fired power plants lead the list of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in North Carolina, a new Environmental Protection Agency website shows.

The greenhouse gas site launched Wednesday. The searchable site shows sources that released 25,000 metric tons or more of the gases, which are linked to climate change, in 2010. In all, those facilities accounted for more than half the nation's total emissions.

Power plants released 72 percent of those gases. Refineries, chemical plants and other industries each produced around 5 percent.

North Carolina tied with California with the nation's 14th-largest emissions from power plants and refineries -- 71 million metric tons in 2010. The figure includes a range of gases, including methane, nitrous oxide and industrial gases, all expressed in carbon-dioxide equivalents that reflect their heat-trapping abilities.

Progress Energy's Roxboro plant, near the Virginia line north of Durham, led the N.C. list with 14.6 million metric tons. Three Duke Energy plants followed: Belews Creek northeast of Winston-Salem, with 12.5 million tons; Marshall in Catawba County, with 11.6 million tons; and Allen in Gaston County with 5 million tons.


Carl from Cramerton said...

Wouldn't it be more meaningful to publish the numbers, at least for power plants, as tons per megawatt? Kind of like looking at miles per gallon for a car. Because even if a power plant is at the top of the list as far as total emissions, if it's the lowest as far as tons per megawatt generated, isn't that the best plant to run?

StephenParrish said...

Carl, that's not scary. And would require thought. And math. Reason and risk evaluation.

You're completely unreasonable.

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