Electricity and Our Environment

To generate the electricity we need, America’s electric companies must harness the Earth’s natural resources.  That’s why they work diligently to use resources efficiently to meet the ever-growing need for power.  Electric companies are always searching for new and innovative ways to generate electricity—and to use it wisely—while also protecting the environment.

Today, there is a major transformation under way as electric companies are changing the way electricity is made and delivered as they transition to a cleaner energy economy.

Clean Air

Great progress has been made in the electric power industry’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation, even as the need for electricity among consumers increases. The U.S. electric power sector has reduced air emissions substantially under existing programs.

  • Since 1990, the industry has cut emissions of both sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) by almost 75 percent.
  •  As of 2013, the industry’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were approximately 15 percent below 2005 emission levels.


Global climate change presents one of the biggest energy and environmental policy challenges this country has ever faced.  America’s electric companies are committed to addressing the challenge of climate change and are world leaders in taking a wide range of voluntary actions to reduce, avoid, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.


For electricity to reach millions of homes and businesses throughout the United States—from dense urban communities to vast rural areas—electric companies own and manage literally hundreds of thousands of acres of lands. Electric companies work in partnership with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that all applicable land management guidelines and practices are met.


Water is an essential component of electricity production.  The production of electricity requires water for fuel processing, cooling, materials handling, combustion efficiency, and environmental control. Accordingly, the electric power industry is partnering with government agencies, states, and private research organizations to explore non-traditional sources of water for the industry, such as innovative water reuse and recovery designs, advanced cooling technologies, and advanced power systems that are more water efficient.

    • Powering our lives

      From powering our homes, businesses, and the devices we use to transforming the way we work, learn, and get around—electricity supports and advances our quality of life.

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    • Powering our economy

      The electric power industry supports local jobs and community services.  Electricity also keeps businesses running, drives our economy, and is revolutionizing industries nationwide.

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    • Powering innovation

      The way we use and produce electricity is changing. As a result, electricity is helping spur the development of new technologies that enhance our everyday lives.

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    • Powering our future

      The future of electricity is on the fast track - reliable, affordable electricity is critical to the way we work, travel, learn, play, and live today and tomorrow.

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