Electricity-Specific Emission Factors for Grid Electricity

Sep 1, 2011

Electricity consumption is often one of the largest sources of emissions for reporting companies, and it is therefore important that the measurement of these emissions is as accurate as possible. However, for the majority of countries the best available factors for calculating emissions from electricity consumption are the composite electricity/heat emission factors published by the International Energy Agency (IEA 2010), which are also the basis for most of the grid electricity factors in the WRI tool for emissions from purchased electricity (WRI 2011), and Defra/DECC’s factors for non-UK countries (Defra/DECC 2011a). Because these factors include the emissions from heat generation as well as electricity they may not be an accurate proxy for grid electricity emissions, i.e. the emissions from heat generation may skew the factor upwards or downwards.

This paper presents a methodology and results for electricity-specific emission factors based on alternative data available from the IEA. The paper also provides a discussion of the reasons for the differences between the IEA composite electricity/heat factors and the new electricity-specific factors.

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