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Eye in the Sky: Identifying Plants from Above

By providing detailed estimates of carbon pollution facility by facility, CARMA provides the world’s most comprehensive inventory of power sector emissions. It also happens to be the world’s best place for power plant voyeurism.

As part of CARMA’s development, we collected the geographic coordinates of more than 30,000 power plants representing 89% of global emissions and 84% of all power production. In most of those cases, we identified the coordinates of the city where the plant is located. These coordinates are fed into Google Maps and displayed on as icons. If you zoom in on those icons, you can often obtain a nice bird’s eye view of the plants without too much trouble. My favorites so far:

The Scherer Plant outside of Juliette, Georgia — the highest emitting plant in the U.S. — complete with visible train trestle and tracks that allow for uninterrupted unloading of at least three coal trains a day.

Scherer Plant

The plant on Lamma Island, Hong Kong set against some beautiful (and warming and acidifying) tropical waters.

Lamma Plant

And finally, the wonderfully photographed Ferrybridge Plant in the UK — complete with suburbs just 200 meters to the south.

Ferrybridge Plant

I’ve only stumbled upon a few of these instances, but I image there are thousands more. I’m sure the CARMA user community will find the rest. And when you do, note it as a Reaction on the plant’s page. CARMA contains information for more than 190,000 cities worldwide, so type in your hometown and see if you can locate a Big Chuffer nearby.

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Reader Comments

Excellent research and information, I will be telling others of this new website.

I found the national trends for nuclear and Hydro-electric power generation particularly interesting, and how easy it was to interact with the maps. Top marks for the work you have done here.


SOLAR – I just started looking at your wonderful site, but don’t see how you compare users of solar, or does this not come under emission information?What a great site! Among other things it would facilitate letter writing campaigns to the bad guys (and good ones too!). Where are all the green dots?


excellent views from above:
I remember the movie “How green was my valley” (in the fifties…); now I’m -from time to time- involved in small hydro, which is definitely not the “Egg of Columbus” because there are so many people who cheat themselves (O&M and administration of remote-area-stand-alone-”one-night-stand” mini hydro stations; and, there are curious examples, too: Nepalese MHP serving during evening hours for TV-telenovelas, and because it’s so cold in high altitudes, they use to sit around small fire places / with fuelwood / deforestation syndrome)
But anyhow let’s go on, searching and looking and finding solutions in the future…


Yours is a splendid contribution to local awareness of how significant is our local contribution to global devastation.


Three important Solar Electric Generation Stations comprising 352 MWe have operated since the early ’90′s. Find ‘em at N35.01, W117.56 ; N35.03, W117.34 ; N34.86, W116.83

A brand new one is Nevada Solar One, operational at 75 MW summer output since June 2007 is at N35.797, W114.981