Report: Power plants reducing emissions

The country’s top 100 electricity producers have reduced emissions of major pollutants in recent years, showing that they could likely handle the new limits on carbon dioxide coming soon from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a new report.

The Wednesday report from corporate sustainability group Ceres found that the major producers reduced emissions of carbon dioxide 13 percent between 2008 and 2012. They’ve also significantly cut nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury.

“The electric power industry is firmly on the path toward a low-carbon energy future, and history shows that it is not only capable of meeting new pollution limits, but that it can do so while keeping our lights on and our economy growing,” Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, said in a statement.

“EPA’s proposed standards will stimulate further investment in low-carbon, low-risk resources like renewable power and energy efficiency,” she said.

Power generators are also shifting toward increased energy efficiency and fuel sources that produce lower carbon emissions, Ceres said.

Ceres also found significant disparities in state-by-state carbon emissions per megawatt-hour of energy produced. Kentucky, Wyoming, West Virginia, Indiana and North Dakota have the highest emissions, while Idaho, Vermont, Washington, Oregon and Maine have the lowest.

Ceres released its report the same day the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put out a report saying the EPA’s forthcoming rules would cost the country more than $50 billion a year by 2030 and cut as many as 224,000 jobs. The EPA plans to propose the rules Monday and finalize them in a year.