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US is halfway to a carbon-free power sector

The US power sector is decarbonising faster than expected, according to new research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The US is halfway to a carbon-free power sector, says a study published in April 2021 by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

A review of historical trends shows the US power sector is making good progress to reduce emissions, according to the research.

offshore wind turbines
The GE-Alstom Block Island Wind Farm stands three miles off of Block Island, Rhode Island. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

“Fifteen years ago, many business-as-usual projections anticipated annual CO2 emissions from power supply in the US would reach 3,000 million metric tons (MMT) in 2020,” it states. “In fact, direct power-sector CO2 emissions in 2020 were 1,450 MMT—roughly 50% below the earlier projections.”

Using this metric, in 15 years the country’s power sector has gone halfway to zero emissions.

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“Economic, technical and policy factors contributed to this success, including sectoral changes, energy efficiency, wind and solar, continued operations of the nuclear fleet, and coal-to-gas fuel switching,” states the report.