Emission factors for energy sources (Resource)

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Description: This page provides a table with emission factors from the IPCC; and a second table for compiling sources for emission factors for various energy sources. These emission factors can be used to estimate the carbon-intensity of said energy sources (e.g., hydrocarbons, solar, wind, etc.).

Note: For now this is a single page; it may eventually be expanded into multiple pages. Editors are free to do as much and request that a link to the energy-source specific page to be included on this Resource page.

What are emission factors?

Emission factors are greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of activity data, e.g., kg CO2e per unit energy use. Refer to greenhouse gas conversion factors to convert non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

Approximate emission factors

Energy source
Product Sub-Category Life cycle gram CO2e/kWh, Median

(exclusively electric energy)[1]

Type of energy generated
Coal[2] 820[3] Heat (thermal) & Electric.
Oil[2] n/a Heat (thermal) & Electric.
Gas[2] 490[4] Heat (thermal) & Electric.
Biomass (cofiring/dedicated) 740/230 Heat (thermal) & Electric.
Solar PV (utility) 48 Electric.
Solar PV (rooftop) 41 Heat (thermal) & Electric.
Geothermal 38 Heat (thermal) (predominantly).
Concentrated solar power (CSP) 27 Electric.
Hydropower 24 Electric (predominantly)
Nuclear 12 Electric.
Wind (offshore) 12 Electric.
Wind (onshore) 11 Electric.
Ocean (tidal) Pre-commercial. Electric.
CCS -- Coal (Oxyfuel) Pre-commercial Heat (thermal) & Electric.
CCS -- Coal (PC)[3] Pre-commercial Heat (thermal) & Electric.
CCS -- Coal (IGCC)[5] Pre-commercial Heat (thermal) & Electric.
CCS -- Gas (Combined Cycle) Pre-commercial Heat (thermal) & Electric.
Bioenergy n/a Heat (thermal) & Electric.

Emission factor and/or life cycle analysis sources

Coal, Oil and Gas are hydrocarbons.[2]

Name What? Type Format Free? Date updated
Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of energy sources Wikipedia page. Article Website Free n/a
OpenEI MediaWiki containing databases Articles and files Website and downloads Free n/a

Other sources

Select Wikipedia pages:

  • Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of energy sources [1]


  1. See: Table A.III.2. Source: Schlömer S., T. Bruckner, L. Fulton, E. Hertwich, A. McKinnon, D. Perczyk, J. Roy, R. Schaeffer, R. Sims, P. Smith, and R. Wiser, 2014: Annex III: Technology-specific cost and performance parameters. In: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savoleainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Fossilized carbon (and some hydrogen). In short, most of human-caused (aka anthropogenic) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result when humans burn stuff (especially hydrocarbons) to make heat, work or electricity.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pulverized Coal (PC).
  4. Combined Cycle.
  5. Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC).