U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
How much carbon dioxide is produced per kilowatthour when generating electricity with fossil fuels?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes average annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions factors for electricity generation in the State Electricity Profiles. Table 1 has the factor for the most recent year available. There are historical annual factors dating back to 1990 in Table 7. To find Table 7, see the link under Table 1 for: Full data tables 1-12. The factor is in pounds of CO2 per megawatthour (MWh). Divide the factor by 1,000 to convert the factor to pounds per kilowatthour (kWh).
You can calculate an average annual CO2 emissions factor for electricity generated in each state by type of fuel/energy source by dividing estimated CO2 emissions from electricity generation in each state by the amount of electricity generated in each state.
Data sources for the calculation State-level historical data files (xls)
- U.S. Electric Power Industry Estimated Emissions by State includes estimates for CO2 emissions by type of energy source in metric tons. You can convert metric tons to short tons by multiplying the number of metric tons by 1.1. Multiply the result by 2,000 to convert to pounds.
- Net Generation by State by Type of Producer by Energy Source data are in MWh. Multiply by 1,000 to convert to kWh.
You can calculate the pounds of CO2 produced per kWh for specific types of electricity generators (prime movers) using different fuels by multiplying the heat rate of a generator (in British thermal units (Btu) per kWh generated), by the CO2 emission factor for the fuel (in pounds of CO2 per million Btu), and dividing the result by 1,000,000.
Data sources for the calculation are in the Electric Power Annual.
- Table 8.1. Average Operating Heat Rate for Selected Energy Sources (xls)
- Table 8.2 Average Tested Heat Rates by Prime Mover and Energy Source (xls)
- Table A.3. Carbon Dioxide Uncontrolled Emission Factors (xls) (There are about 2.205 pounds in a kilogram.)
Last updated: March 21, 2017
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