Ten large companies generate more than one third of the 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted each year by U.S. electric power generators, according to figures in a first-of-its-kind database unveiled Wednesday.
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, and Southern Co. of Atlanta, which run the largest coal power plants in the country, top the list of U.S. companies responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from electricity, according to data compiled by the Center for Global Development, a global economic development think tank in Washington, D.C.
The database, called CARMA or Carbon Monitoring for Action, culls for the first time data both from government regulators around the world and commercial databases to provide an up-to-date look at the state of CO2 from power production—which accounts for one quarter of all carbon emissions. (The database doesn't look at other large sources, like transportation and manufacturing.) Here are the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation in the United States:
The 10 Biggest Carbon Dioxide Polluters
|COMPANY||TONS OF CO2 PER YEAR|
|1. American Electric Power||174 million|
|With 5 million customers in 11 states from Ohio to Texas, its biggest carbon emissions come from its Gavin coal plant in Cheshire, Ohio.|
|2. SOUTHERN||172 million|
|Has 4.3 million customers in the Southeast and owns the top three carbon-emitting power plants in the country: Scherer, in Juliet, Ga.; Miller in Quinton, Ala.; and Bowen in Cartersville, Ga.|
|3. (tie) AES CORP.||108 million|
|Has power plants from New York to California, with the worst emissions from its Petersburg, Ind., plant.|
|3. (tie) DUKE ENERGY||108 million|
|Serves 4 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Its Gibson plant in Owensville, Ind., is the nation's fourth-largest carbon emissions source in the power sector.|
|5. TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY||101 million|
|The nation's largest public power company serves the 8.7 million residents of the Tennessee Valley. Its Cumberland City, Tenn., plant ranks eighth in the nation in CO2 emissions.|
|6. NRG ENERGY||82.7 million|
|A wholesale power producer that operates in deregulated electricity markets throughout the country, its W.A. Parish plant in Thompsons, Texas, is the nation's No. 5 carbon emissions source.|
|7. XCEL ENERGY||76.1 million|
|With 3.3 million customers in the West and Midwest, its largest carbon generator is its Sherburne County plant in Becker, Minn.|
|8. MIDAMERICAN ENERGY HOLDINGS||70.9 million|
|A Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway company, MidAmerican serves customers in Iowa, Illinois, and South Dakota, with its largest CO2 emissions from the Jim Bridger plant in Point Of Rocks, Wyo.|
|9. PROGRESS ENERGY||68.1 million|
|Based in Raleigh, N.C., its plant in Roxoboro, N.C., is its biggest emissions source.|
|10. DOMINION RESOURCES||66.6 million|
|Dominion is based in Virginia, with operations stretching into the Northeast and Midwest. Its biggest carbon emissions source is its Mount Storm, W.Va., plant.|
Strikingly, three Chinese power companies, South Africa's giant Eskom, and India's NTPC all generate more CO2 emissions than any single U.S. firm—underscoring the shared challenge posed by global climate change. The largest, Huaneng Power International of China, has emissions 68 percent higher than American Electric Power's.
The CARMA website, which will be updated quarterly, also allows any visitor to search the data from 4,000 electric power companies worldwide to find the largest carbon emitters, not only by company or individual power plant but also by city, state, county, congressional district, or country.