New Analysis Shows Continuing Declines in US Power Sector Air Emissions, Growth in Renewable Energy

Entergy’s generation transformation is helping drive significant nationwide improvements
BOSTON – U.S. power sector carbon dioxide emissions fell 10% between 2019 and 2020 according to a new analysis released today. This is the largest year-over-year decrease since the Benchmarking Air Emissions of the 100 Largest Electric Power Producers in the United States report was first released in 1997.
While the coronavirus pandemic may have been a contributing factor, the drop in emissions in 2020 is part of a long-term trend fueled by increased renewable generation and coal-to-gas transitions. This year’s report highlighted several dramatic shifts, as the share of power produced by non-hydro renewables jumped 20% from 2019 levels and the share from coal decreased by roughly 17%.
“Industry-wide, the pace of decarbonization is picking up, and as renewables come online to displace fossil fuels, we have the opportunity to accelerate that trend,” said Dan Bakal, senior director for electric power at Ceres. “The growth in renewables has allowed us to separate economic growth from emissions, and this year represents one of the most dramatic decoupling points that we have seen.”
Power companies face intensifying pressure to decarbonize amid a steady drumbeat of net zero commitments and regulatory actions. In April, President Joe Biden announced a nationwide goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, and his administration faces rising calls from a variety of sources, including power companies, to set an interim goal of 80% clean energy by 2030.
A month later, a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) modeling pathways consistent with limiting

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