(My previous blog posting suggested that increased imports of electricity may have been the major contributor to Ohio’s steep drop in greenhouse gas emissions. The calculation below shows that the picture is more complex and reduction in generation of greenhouse gasses by coal plants turns out to be the largest contributor.)
Electric generation by coal plants has decreased sharply in Ohio. Plant retirement in the past nine years (a) has reduced capacity by about thirty percent (1). The remaining plants are running only about half time (1,2). The shortfall has been replaced by natural gas, imports from other states, and a decrease in demand (3).
Since 2008 CO2 emissions have decreased by about 49 million metric tons, or about 29 percent (b)(4).
This decrease has the following components in million metric tons (mmt):
Coal = -57 mmt
Natural Gas = +8 mmt
The overall 49 mmt decrease has two parts:
Decreased demand = 9 mmt
Emissions avoided by importing electricity = 40 mmt
The biggest driver in greenhouse gas reduction is less use of coal. Ohio’s situation is improved considerably by importing electricity from out of state, which is approaching 20 percent of demand (3).
(a) Dating from passage of electric deregulation in 2008 (127-SB221)
(b) Actual 2015 data have been extended to 2017 estimates.
(1) EIA, Electric Power Industry Capability by Primary Energy Source, 1990 through 2016, https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/Ohio/
(2) EIA, Electric Power Monthly, Jan. 2017, https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/
(3) EIA, Electricity Data Browser, https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser/
(4) EIA, State Carbon Dioxide Emissions Data, https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/state/