The Northwest’s carbon footprint is shrinking, thanks to energy efficiency measures that have reduced electric use, and cleaner burning fossil fuels.
In 2015, annual carbon dioxide emissions from electricity for the four-state region were around 51 million metric tons, which is about what they were in 2000, according to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Emissions peaked at 60 million metric tons in 2009.
About 50 percent of the electricity in the four-state region comes from hydropower, which has historically kept the region’s carbon emissions low. Energy efficiency has also played a big role in shrinking emissions, along with a reduction in coal-fired electricity, according to the council.
In recent years, natural gas-fired turbines have replaced part of the coal generation. Natural gas emits about 45 percent less carbon than coal.
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