PSE Energy Quarterly is the newsletter of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, a nonprofit research institute dedicated to supplying evidence-based scientific and technical information on the public health, environmental, and climate dimensions of energy production and use.
Which power plant in your region is the worst polluter and who lives nearby? A new interactive, map-based website launching today (November 15) allows users to explore and analyze data on fossil-fuel-burning power plants by viewing information such as location, operations and emissions — alone or in relation to other data, including local demographics and environmental justice indicators. The free site, called the California Power Map, is designed to help users — especially public agencies, researchers, journalists, and citizen groups — access and analyze power-plant data based on their own questions. Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE), an Oakland, California-based nonprofit energy science and policy research institute,
built the site.
Choosing from numerous menus and filters, users can view data such as greenhouse gas emissions and hours of operation and can select geographical regions such as counties or utility service areas (PG&E, for example). Customized views can be shared as links or displayed as embedded graphics in other sites. Much of the site’s information exists in different maps or datasets across federal and State websites but the California Power Map integrates disparate sources of information to allow for easy comparison across datasets.
“These maps help directly answer the kinds of questions I regularly hear, such as: ‘In which communities are power plants located? Which plants would we want to take offline if we had alternatives?’” said Elena Krieger, PhD, the director of PSE’s clean energy research program, who built the site. “The answers can help inform strategies for shifting to clean energy in an orderly, sensible way, with data-driven decision-making, such as phasing out the most polluting plants in the most populous areas first.”