Our emissions continue to decline as our plan for retrofits and retirements of coal units unfolds. Since 1990, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions each have been reduced by more than 80 percent, and mercury emissions have declined by nearly 60 percent since 2001. Factors leading to the decreased emissions include installation of controls such as scrubbers, changes in the type of coal burned, unit retirements, and reduced generation due to economic conditions. Mercury emissions information is reported to the EPA under the Toxics Release Inventory program.
In 2013, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States were up about 2 percent over 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, largely due to a slight increase in coal consumption for electricity. From 2012 to 2013, AEP’s CO2 emissions declined from 122 million metric tons to approximately 115 million metric tons. This represents a 21 percent reduction compared with our 2005 CO2 emissions of approximately 145 million metric tons. AEP’s generating fleet has exceeded President Obama’s 17 percent reduction goal for CO2 emissions, due to a number of circumstances, including reduced demand, five years before the deadline and without additional regulation.