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.

Download “Electricity-specific emission factors for grid electricity” Electricity-specific-emission-factors-for-grid-electricity.pdf – Downloaded 3812 times – 185 B


  1. I am seeking an electricity emission factor for Switzerland. Could you please advise me if there is an updated country factor compared to your 2011 paper on “Electricity-specific emission factors for grid electricity” 2011 or where I might look to find it. Thanks for making your paper available.

    Pamela Stark
    Principal, The Middle Way

    1. Hi Pamela,

      We’ve got a free service that gives you access to all the emission factors in our database, and is updated whenever new factors become available. It’s available at http://www.emissionfactors.com and accounts are free!

      Hope this helps.

      All the best,

  2. Many thanks for your response Mike

    I have looked at the most recent electricity grid emission factors for CO2 for Switzerland, and found two different factors:

    0.52841 ± 12% kg CO₂ per Kilowatt Hour IEA 2015 From 2013 
    0.023883 ± 7% kg CO₂ per Kilowatt Hour IEA 2015 From 2013

    Could you please tell the difference between these. The second seems closer to earlier figures I have seen elsewhere.

    Thanks again, Pamela Stark

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