Hillsborough County’s Resource Recovery Facility is one of two U.S. WTE plants now offering the credits.
Carbon offset credits generated by Hillsborough County’s Resource Recovery Facility, Tampa, operated by Covanta Energy
, Morristown, N.J., have been verified and are now available for purchase on the voluntary market.
The credits represent verified reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions achieved by generating renewable energy-from-waste at the resource recovery facility. The facility processes up to 1,800 tons of solid waste a day, generating up to 46.5 megawatts of electricity—enough to power approximately 30,000 homes.
Hillsborough County’s offset credits were approved through the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). The VCS is a highly regarded global standard for the approval of credible voluntary offset credits. In order for carbon offset credits to be approved under the standard, they must represent new reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, meet strict program requirements and be independently verified by a qualified third party. The credits must be verified annually.
“Energy-from-waste is a key component of sustainable waste management, a model the European Union has used with tremendous success to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the impact of waste,” says Dr. Paul Gilman, Covanta’s chief sustainability officer. “These carbon offset credits are a tangible recognition of the greenhouse gas benefits of the Hillsborough County facility.”
The resource recovery facility was expanded in 2009 with the construction of a new 600-ton-per-day combustion unit. Because Unit No. 4 was installed after 2002, it is eligible to be evaluated for carbon emissions offsets. The facility produced more than 33,000 carbon units in 2010.
Hillsborough County is partnering with Covanta, which is contracted by the county to operate the facility, to sell the carbon credits. According to Covanta, Hillsborough’s facility is only the second waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in the United States to produce carbon offset credits for the voluntary market. Lee County’s Resource Recovery Facility made their credits available in 2010.