U.S. Electric power plants contribute to greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.










How much of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are associated with electricity generation?

In 2016, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the U.S. electric power sector1 were 1,821 million metric tons, or about 35% of the total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions of 5,171 million metric tons.2

CO2 emissions from U.S. electric power sector by source, 2016

Source Million metric tons Share of total
Coal 1,241 68%
Natural gas  546 30%
Petroleum   21 1%
Other3   12 <1%
Total 1,821

1 An energy-consuming sector that consists of electricity-only power plants and combined-heat-and-power plants whose primary business is to sell electricity, or electricity and heat, to the public.
2 Preliminary data for 2016.
Includes CO2 emissions from the combustion of miscellaneous waste materials made from fossil fuels and by some types of geothermal power generation.