Carbon offset credits generated by Hillsborough County’s Resource Recovery Facility 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, located at 350 Falkenburg Road, 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.
A carbon credit corresponds to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent removed, avoided or displaced from the environment. Carbon credits can be purchased or sold between companies, industries, governments and others to meet compliance with carbon emission allowances. There are two types of markets: voluntary and compliance. Each type adheres to a particular standard or certification. Voluntary credits are purchased by companies and organizations interested in voluntarily reducing greenhouse gases.
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.
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 plant in the United States to produce carbon offset credits for the voluntary market. Lee County’s Resource Recovery Facility made their credits available beginning in 2010.
About Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County is located midway on the west coast of Florida and is home to more than 1.2 million people. The thriving and diverse community boasts a wide variety of work, educational, recreational and cultural opportunities, a nationally-known sea port and airport, tourist attractions, major entertainment and event venues, professional sports teams, beautiful parks and an abundant agricultural industry. Unincorporated Hillsborough County is governed by a seven-member elected Board of County Commissioners whose offices are located in the 28-story Frederick B. Karl County Center in downtown Tampa. For more information, visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org.
Covanta Energy Corporation is an internationally-recognized owner and operator of Energy-from-Waste and renewable energy projects and a recipient of the Energy Innovator Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Covanta’s 44 Energy-from-Waste facilities provide communities with an environmentally sound solution to their solid waste disposal needs by using that municipal solid waste to generate clean, renewable energy. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely and securely convert approximately 20 million tons of waste into 9 million megawatt hours of clean renewable electricity and approximately 9 billion pounds of steam that are sold to a variety of industries. For more information, visit www.covantaenergy.com.