The Value Proposition
Electricity generation in the United States is fueled by coal (38.6 percent), natural gas (27.5 percent), nuclear (19.5 percent), renewable resources (13 percent with more than half from hydro resources, followed by wind), and petroleum (0.7 percent). Roughly two-thirds of our electricity is generated by fossil fuels. Great progress has been made over the past decades in reducing dependence on petroleum for generation and improving energy efficiency (also called “energy productivity”), and reducing losses. Nevertheless, electricity generation today accounts for about 30 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. GHG emissions from electricity have increased steadily as electricity demand has grown, and fossil fuels have remained a primary source for electricity generation. Regional CO2 cap-and-trade programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and California’s GHG program have demonstrated that market-based trading programs can work to reduce GHG emissions.
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