Creating the Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID)

Environment Protection Agency logoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) is a comprehensive source of data on environmental characteristics of almost all electric power generated in the United States.  eGRID is unique in that it links air emissions data with electric generation data for United States power plants.   With the new availability of current and archived editions of eGRID in Data.gov, eGRID is now more accessible to the public than ever before.

As of May 2011, the available editions of eGRID contain data for 2007, 2005, and 2004 (all in eGRID2010) and for 1996 through 2000 (in the archived edition).  Data for 2007 were configured to reflect the electric power industry’s current structure as of December 31, 2010, including plant ownership and operators, parent company affiliations, company mergers, and grid configurations. TranSystems|E.H. Pechan, formerly E.H. Pechan & Associates, Inc., has developed all seven editions of eGRID for EPA since 1997.

Data Summary

eGRID data include emissions, emission rates, electricity generation, resource mix, and heat input.  eGRID data also include plant identification, location, and structural information. The following emissions information is included in eGRID:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx)
  • sulfur dioxide (SO2)
  • methane (CH4)
  • nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)
  • mercury (Hg)

CO2, CH4, and N2O are greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change. NOx and SO2 contribute to unhealthy air quality and acid rain in many parts of the country. Hg is a toxic pollutant that can adversely affect exposed nervous systems. 

eGRID’s resource mix information includes the following resources: 

  • coal
  • oil
  • gas
  • other fossil
  • nuclear
  • hydroelectric (water)
  • biomass (including biogas, landfill gas and digester gas)
  • wind
  • solar
  • geothermal

The primary data sources used for eGRID include data reported by electric generators to EPA’s Clean Air Markets Division (pursuant to 40 CFR Part 75) and to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Uses of eGRID

eGRID data are used for carbon footprinting; emission reduction calculations; calculating indirect greenhouse gas emissions for The Climate Registry, the California Climate Action Registry, California’s Mandatory GHG emissions reporting program (AB 32) , and other GHG protocols.   EPA tools and programs such as Power Profiler (which has been updated with 2007 data from eGRID), Portfolio Manager, the Green Power Equivalency Calculator, the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the Personal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator, and the WasteWise Office Carbon Footprint Tool use eGRID.  Electricity labeling/environmental disclosure, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) attributes are often supported by eGRID data.  State and local governments also rely on eGRID data for emissions inventories and for policy decisions.  eGRID is used extensively for electric grid related research by nongovernmental organizations.

 In 2010, Executive Order 13514 was issued, requiring Federal agencies to “measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions from direct and indirect activities.” The Federal GHG Accounting and Reporting Guidance accompanied this order and recommended using eGRID non-baseload emission rates to estimate the Scope 2 (indirect) emission reductions from renewable energy.

The company SAP has taken eGRID data and made an online visualization of eGRID subregion, NERC region, and state data.  See:  http://experience.sap.com/experience/html/Pages/egrid/dashboard.html .  This application is under review.

Screen shot of an online visualization of eGRID

Accessing eGRID Data

In addition to Data.gov, eGRID is also available on EPA’s website at epa.gov/egrid.  Year 2007 data in eGRID2010 are presented in three Excel workbooks. The first workbook contains data at the boiler, generator, and plant levels. The second workbook presents aggregated data by state, electric generating company, parent company, power control area, eGRID subregion, NERC region, and the U.S.  The third workbook contains state import-export data for 2004 and 2005, as well as U.S. generation and consumption data.  The eGRID2010 Technical Support Document, File Structure, Summary Tables (with regional representational maps), and GHG Annual Output Emission Rates for CO2, CH4, and N2O (for GHG inventory and registry work) are included in Adobe PDF files. These files, along with 2005 and 2004 data, are contained in a ZIP file that can be downloaded from EPA’s eGRID website. 

Future Plans

The 2009 eGRID data are presently being developed with a planned release in early 2012.

Do you have a good idea for an app using eGRID data?  See EPA’s Apps for the Environment Challenge:
http://www.epa.gov/appsfortheenvironment/ .

Author information

Art Diem is an environmental engineer who manages eGRID for EPA.  Dr. Susy S. Rothschild, a senior scientist at TranSystems|E.H. Pechan, formerly E.H. Pechan & Associates, Inc., is the primary contracting staff for eGRID since its inception.  For questions or comments about eGRID, please use the eGRID feedback page.

Comments are closed.