New England electricity carbon emissions decline

Carbon dioxide emissions from New England's electric power generators continued to decline in 2017, according to a recent report from the region's grid operator.

According to ISO New England Inc., regional emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide all declined in 2017 compared to the previous year, due largely to a decline in the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. For carbon dioxide, the report shows that the New England system emitted 34,969 short kilotons in 2017, a 6.7% decrease relative to 2016, with an average emission rate of 682 pounds per megawatt-hour.

The region's electricity-sector carbon emissions peaked in 2005, at 60,580 short kilotons. According to the report, carbon emissions in 2017 were 42% lower than in 2005. The report cites several key factors contributing to the year-over-year declines, including continuing declines in coal- and oil-fired generation, lower levels of demand for electricity, and significant increases in production from non-emitting hydro, solar and wind resources.