Mountain States

Natural Gas-Fired Power Generation Helps Lower Emissions in Colorado

The production of natural gas in Colorado and its use in electricity generation has grown significantly in the past decade at the same time emissions of key air pollutants have fallen dramatically, data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows.

The amount of electricity generated from natural gas increased by 67 percent from 2010 to 2018 while the emissions from sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) fell by 18 to 75 percent over that same period – highlighting the fuel’s growing importance in providing cleaner power and addressing environmental challenges.

Dan Haley, President and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, touted the findings and praised Colorado operators taking the lead on responsible energy production:

“Producing homegrown oil and natural gas is an environmentally responsible choice. We are making powerful strides in our air quality and emissions are declining. It makes far more sense to produce our own energy in a safe and responsible manner right here in our own backyard, than to produce it in countries with poor environmental standards and atrocious labor practices.”

Growing Natural Production and Power Generation

Thanks to increased innovation, Colorado natural gas production has ramped up in the past decade from 1,589,664 million cubic feet in 2010 to 1,992,698 mcf in 2019 – a 21 percent increase.

That record production has led to natural gas-fired electricity generation growing from 11 million megawatts in 2010 to more than 16 million megawatts in 2018, according to the EPA.

Falling Emissions

During that same period that natural gas production and electricity generation has risen in Colorado, emissions have fallen.

In 2010, there was 45861.5 tons of SO2 emissions. By 2018, emissions had fallen to 11365.3 tons – a decline of 76 percent.

Over that same time span, NOx (a key element in ozone pollution) fell from 54876.3 tons to 19513.6 tons – a decline of 65 percent.

CO2 emissions also fell from 45099379.5 short tons to 37144644.1 short tons – a decline of 18 percent.

Similar Results Around the County

But it’s not just Colorado that’s benefitting from increased natural gas production and its use in electricity generation, it’s the entire United States.

Daniel Cohan, a professor at Rice University, recently shared Energy Information Administration data showing that American natural gas production continues to grow:

At the same time, national CO2 emissions from power plants keep falling:


The numbers are clear. In Colorado, natural gas production continues to rise as well as the fuel’s use in electricity generation. That’s led to dramatic declines in major emissions including SO2, NOx, and CO2. And it’s happening elsewhere around the county as natural gas leads all other energy sources in reducing carbon emissions.

The fracking revolution has turned the United States into an energy superpower and is the reason we lead the world in emissions reductions.

No Comments

Post A Comment