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Clean Air Markets

Emissions Tracking Highlights

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EPA regularly posts updates of quarterly sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions data from coal-fired power plants subject to the Acid Rain Program (ARP) and/or the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to make it easy for the public to track changes in emissions from these sources. Prices of SO2 and NOX allowances under CAIR have been relatively low since 2008 and this has raised concerns that coal-fired units could “backslide” on emission reductions. For example, units could burn dirtier fuels, operate scrubbers or SCRs at reduced efficiency, or even bypass scrubbers or SCRs altogether, relying instead on banked allowances to comply with ARP and CAIR. EPA is tracking SO2 and NOX emissions closely each quarter to assess whether backsliding may be occurring and, if so, where it may be taking place. All of the data presented here are also available in Air Market Program Data (AMPD). Preliminary data show that while a few facilities are emitting more SO2 and/or NOx, or are emitting SO2 and/or NOx at a greater rate, in the first quarter of 2015 than in the same period in 2014, overall emissions are decreasing.

Annual Data and Long Term Data

The data presented here compare emissions, emission rates, and heat input from coal-fired power plant units in the ARP and CAIR. These files graphically and spatially compare annual emission data from 2013 with 2014 as well as presenting long-term data at the facility level. The data presented here are final data for 2013 and preliminary data for 2014.

Interactive Motion Charts:

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Quarterly Data: 2014 vs. 2015 (Quarter 1)

The data presented here compare emissions, emission rates, and heat input from coal-fired power plant units in the ARP and CAIR. These files graphically and spatially compare quarterly emission data from 2014 with data for the same quarter from 2015. The data presented here are final for 2014 and preliminary data for 2015 that are currently under review. As data are reviewed and verified, these materials will be updated.

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Coal-fired Characteristics and Controls: 2014

The data presented here provide emissions, heat input, capacity, on-line year, emission controls, program applicability, addresses, and additional identifying information for coal-fired power plant units, regardless of their inclusion in the Acid Rain Program. These files contain data current as of 2014.

The data show the percent of coal-fired units, generating capacity, and generation with advanced emission controls.

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Changes in Control Technologies at Coal-Fired Units: 2000-2015

SO2 emissions from 2000-2014

The following figures display where particular control technologies have been installed between 2000 to 2014 as well as what technologies EPA anticipates will be installed in 2015 based on the information obtained from major company contacts and industry sources.

The data show that more and more coal-fired units are installing advanced controls, such as scrubbers, which are dramatically reducing pollution across the country.


Video tutorial of interactive motion charts

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Video Transcript (PDF) (2 pp, 34K)


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