This paper summarises some of the work performed in the Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD) on emissions from current power generation. A comprehensive approach was taken in the CCSD program to assessing environmental issues of concern for the power, and by implication the coal, industries. Here results of sampling on full scale operating plants are described, and detailed data on emission fluxes, particle size distributions, trace element concentrations as a function of particle size, and speciation of the trace elements are illustrated. The results show that particle capture in electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) is significantly less efficient than in fabric filters (FFs), particularly for submicron material, and that significant enrichment is observed in the finer particle sizes emitted from both ESPs and FFs. Results for the speciation of chromium, arsenic and selenium in coals, bottom ash and fly ash are also presented. The majority of chromium in fly ash is present in the less toxic Cr(3+) form. Speciation of arsenic in feed coals is variable but the dominant form of As in fly ash is the less toxic As(5+). (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.