Track the green-ness of your electricity with these 3 databases
by Virginia Draper
Thanks to three new on-line databases, Ventana readers can now see where their energy comes from and how their present and future energy choices contribute to global warming. The databases, released by the Sierra Club, the Center for Global Development, and Appalachian Voices, make it possible to chart global warming emissions of individual coal-fired power plants worldwide.
The three databases are listed below:
Sierra Club’s New Coal Plant Tracker lists every new proposed coal-fired power plant in the U.S., where it is in the permitting process, and how much global warming pollution it will emit.
This database by the Center for Global Development, Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) gives the global warming emissions of over 50,000 power plants worldwide.
This Appalachian Voices website links electricity to mountaintop removal mining. If you enter your zip code, the database lets you know if the electricity you receive is linked to the devastation caused by mountaintop removal mining.
Most Ventana readers receive their power from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
This reporter discovered the following:
Using CARMA, I discovered that PG&E has 75 power plants in California. Only one, in Downieville, has earned a “red alert” icon. It is considered “dirty” on a five-point scale because the 398 tons of CO2 emissions compared to the 442 megawatt-hours of energy produced give it an “Intensity” rating of 1800. In contrast, Moss Landing (operated by Dynegy West Generation), which emits much more CO2 (2,714,938 tons/year), gets a 3 ranking because its 5,581,235 megawatt hours of energy result in an intensity rating of 973.
The CARMA web site invites comments and corrections, and several bloggers have expressed concern about the rating system. Others question the decision to call nuclear and hydro power “green.” This classification explains why PG&E power plants get consistently “safer” ratings: 57.45% of PG&E's power is nuclear generated and 40.78% is hydroelectric. However, bloggers have pointed out there is still no solution for nuclear waste, and hydroelectric technology endangers the environment in various ways.
Using the Appalachian Voices data, I found out that PG&E buys coal from Stockton Cogen, a company that is involved in mountaintop removal in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. Mountaintop removal endangers communities, poisons water supplies, pollutes the air, and destroys our natural heritage.
Check out these websites and get involved in the transition to cleaner energy.
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