Carbon offsets are created through projects that result in a reduction of carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon offsets are purchased from a third party and can neutralize carbon produced from today's energy-intensive lifestyles.
This new program will be available to Duke Energy Carolinas' North Carolina customers immediately. Duke Energy Carolinas' South Carolina customers will be able to participate in the program in the near future.
"As a company, Duke Energy is building more efficient coal- and gas-fired plants, and investing in wind, solar and other renewable energy. We are also investigating new technology to capture and sequester carbon emissions, pursuing innovative energy efficiency programs and supporting effective and sensible federal climate change legislation," said Keith Trent, group executive and chief strategy, policy and regulatory officer.
"We value our customers' commitment to energy efficiency and a clean environment. Through our partnership with NC GreenPower, we hope to give them the opportunity to achieve their personal goals through these carbon offsets," said Trent.
Duke Energy Carolinas' North Carolina customers can purchase a carbon offset for $4 a month, which represents 500 pounds of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity. For the typical residential customer, the purchase of two carbon offsets for $8 a month would offset their average monthly consumption of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
As part of its commitment to the environment and to encourage participation in the carbon offset program, Duke Energy Carolinas will match the first carbon offset block purchased by customers from NC GreenPower up to $1 million through 2009.
The NC GreenPower carbon offset program reflects Duke Energy's carbon-reduction strategy and efforts. North Carolina customers interested in reducing the carbon produced from their daily activities now have a program they can easily enroll in by visiting the company's Web site: www.Duke-Energy.com .
Carbon offset purchases will be reflected in a participating customer's monthly bill and passed directly to NC GreenPower. NC GreenPower is a non-profit organization created jointly by the states utilities and Raleigh-based Advanced Energy to promote renewable energy.
Advanced Energy is a non-profit organization that creates economic, environmental and societal benefits through innovative and market-based approaches to energy issues.
"Duke Energy Carolinas has partnered with us to promote renewable energy in North Carolina, and we are delighted to participate in the development and administration of this carbon offset program. Program funds will be used to support carbon offset programs such as reforestation projects and the capture of methane gas from landfills," said Maggy Inman, NC GreenPower's vice president.
In selecting projects, NC GreenPower will follow strict criteria developed by the Environmental Defense Fund. Projects must meet nine specific criteria, including the following key requirements:
- It must be a direct carbon emission (no renewable energy certificates);
- Quantification of emission reductions must be reliable and accurate;
- Emission reductions must be serialized and tracked;
- All offsets must be verified by an independent third party;
"NC GreenPower was created to develop renewable sources of energy to supplement the existing generation sources such as coal and nuclear generation. We believe this new carbon offset program will be just as successful in developing projects that address climate change issues," said Inman.