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eGRID: Estimating Air Pollution Emission Rates for Power Generation in the United States


  • Keeping EPA’s eGRID updated is critical for policymaking
  • Abt continues to develop the eGRID tool, which tracks air pollution emissions rates.
  • Governments and others use the data for carbon footprinting and emissions reduction strategies.
The Challenge

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) is the preeminent source of data on the environmental characteristics of electric power generated in the United States. It’s based on available plant-specific data for all U.S. electricity-generating plants that provide power to the electric grid and report data to the U.S. government. eGRID needs repeated upgrades, however, for it to be useful as the basis for policymaking.

The Approach

Abt supported development of the 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2019 versions of eGRID, including an online, interactive data explorer, and is currently supporting the next version of eGRID. Abt also applied the eGRID methodology to help the EPA develop state-level emissions rate baselines for the Clean Power Plan.

The Results

Abt redesigned the site to make it much more user friendly, with a more flexible interface and an emphasis on data visualization to enhance user experience. Data reported via eGRID include:

  • Emissions type, by fuel type
  • Resource mix for renewable and nonrenewable generation
  • Mass emissions of and emission rates for CO2, NOX, SO2, CH4, and N2O
  • Heat input
  • Nameplate capacity

Governments, scholars, and others—including individual consumers—can use the data to estimate indirect emissions from electricity purchases, in greenhouse gas inventories, for carbon footprinting, and for estimating avoided emissions from programs and projects to reduce consumption of grid-supplied electricity. The data are now available by zip code and can be traced to individual power plants using EPA’s Power Profiler.

In early 2021, Abt worked with EPA to update the eGRID database and data visualization tool with year 2019 data, achieving two milestones:

  1. This is the first edition of eGRID to include data on Puerto Rico and
  2. This is the first time that eGRID has been released in consecutive years. Thanks to Abt’s innovative efforts in automating much of the data analysis, it is now possible to release eGRID data on an annual basis. The ability to release annual data improves the timeliness of emissions accounting and emissions reduction policymaking.