Combustible By-Products/Electric Power Industry: U.S. Energy Information Administration Report Addresses Production/Recycling Rates

April 01, 2021

By: Walter G. Wright

Category: Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law

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The United States Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) released a March 29th report titled:

U.S. Electric Power Industry Produces Less and Recycles More Combustible By-Product (“Report”)

By way of summary, the EIA report states that combustible by-product (“CBP”) production in the United States electric power industry decreased from 135.1 million short tons in 2010 to 88.7 million short tons in 2019.

The Report defines CBPs as:

Residues left over after the combustion of coal, petroleum coke, residual fuel oil, and wood or wood waste

An example from a coal-fired power plant would be the generation of fly ash from the burning of coal.

CBPs are noted often to be disposed of in on-site or off-site landfills or ponds. However, some CBPs are recycled or reused. Examples cited are reuse in products such as concrete wallboard or as structural fill to support roadways.

The EIA Report states that the beneficial reuse rate of CBPs from operating power plans increased from 38 percent in 2010 to 44 percent in 2019. Noted also as a cause for the decline in CBP production is reduced coal-fired capacity as coal-fired power plants are retired.

A copy of the Report can be downloaded here.

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