Thursday, February 14, 2008

Carbon Offsets

For the last two or three years, I've been purchasing TerraPass and Carbon Fund carbon offset products.  The obvious question is "when will the cost of offsets start rising?" since the cheap offsets should be exhausted at some point and marginal offset costs should rise.  So far, its really cheap to buy offsets.  The problem for most of us is the bewildering plethora of certifications, auditors, etc.  Wouldn't it be better to establish a national standard for certifying carbon offsets so that those of us who  chose to go carbon neutral in this manner know that we're accomplishing our goal.  Here's the current portfolio info from TerraPass.  I'd be interested in comments about these projects, certifications, other carbon offset providers, or the carbon offset concept in general.  I hope that Willamette University, my home school, will go carbon neutral soon.

Projects we support

See how your TerraPass purchase goes into action

When you buy a carbon offset from TerraPass, your money supports clean energy and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Featured Projects

TerraPass funds three different project types: clean energy produced by wind power; farm power which makes good use of animal wastes; and landfill gas capture, which reduces the impact of our own wastes.

 

   

Stakeholder comment periods

   

Beginning in 2008, TerraPass has made a commitment to a 30-day comment period on any new projects we are considering for our portfolio. Check the latest projects under consideration on our Project feedback page.
    
   

   

Our Guarantee

You want to be sure your money is well-spent, and we want you to have confidence in TerraPass. To ensure we meet your expectations, we've adopted industry-leading business practices.

Independent verification

All TerraPass projects are verified by an independent accredited organization according to a published offset standard. All verifications include site visits, audits of the project data and project monitoring equipment and practices relative to the standard used. A full project portfolio, including amounts purchased, is published on our web site each year after our independent audit is complete.

Project Standards and Requirements

Every project is conducted and verified according to one of the following appropriate standards: Voluntary Carbon Standard 2007, Green-e Climate, Chicago Climate Exchange Offset Protocols, California Climate Action Registry, EPA Climate Leaders, ISO 14064-2, and Gold Standard. TerraPass publishes the standard to be used for each project on our website when we solicit comments for new projects, and in our annual project portfolio.

Every 2008 TerraPass will be fulfilled with verified emission reductions from vintage year 2008; these projects must have started operating no earlier than January 1, 2002. As we consider new projects, we publish the project name and location on our web site and invite public comments.

Each TerraPass comes with a Product Content Label, which identifies the amount of carbon emission reductions purchased, our project types, locations, and business practices.

Annual Audit

To ensure maximum transparency and accountability, every TerraPass offset purchase and marketing claim is verified in an annual audit conducted or overseen by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), creator of Green-e, the nation's leading renewable energy certification program. These audits verify our purchases and help to ensure transparency and accountability.

Click here to view our annual project portfolios and audit details

Refund Policy

TerraPass stands behind its products with a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are dissatisfied with your TerraPass purchase for any reason, you can return it within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.


TerraPass project portfolio

To ensure maximum transparency and accountability, every TerraPass offset purchase and marketing claim is verified in an annual audit conducted or overseen by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), creator of Green-e, the nation's leading renewable energy certification program. The audit covers several aspect of our business:

  • Purchase history. Do we actually buy the necessary amount of carbon offsets on behalf of our customers? To ensure that we do, CRS examines our customer records and offset purchase contracts.
  • Offset quality. Do we adhere to the quality metrics that we say we support? CRS examines our carbon offset portfolio to ensure that it meets our stated standards.
  • Consumer protection. Do we publicly disclose the contents of every TerraPass purchase? CRS requires that we include a product content label with every TerraPass purchase, which is sort of like an ingredient list alerting customers to exactly what they're buying.

The project portfolio listings below are part of our audit submittals. We publish each year's full portfolio once it has been validated by our auditor.

Skip to: 2006 projects and audit  |  2004-2005 projects and audit

       

2006 Project Portfolio

Total pounds of carbon reduced: 220,426,931

 
TerraPass' 2006 emission reduction obligations were fulfilled from a portfolio of two-thirds greenhouse gas reductions from landfill gas capture and farm power; and one-third clean energy from wind power and landfill power. All projects met our quality criteria: independent verification, ongoing monitoring, and matched maturity. TerraPasses purchased in 2006 were fulfilled with reductions of vintage 2006. All clean energy projects & renewable energy credits were Green-e certified, and all other projects were conducted and verified according to the rules of the Chicago Climate Exchange. All projects in this portfolio are listed below. 2006 Chart
          

View our 2006 audit in PDF format

            

Complete 2006 Project Listing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Project NameLocationTypePounds of CO2 reductions% of TotalDetails
CrossRoads LandfillNorridgewock, MELandfill gas capture99,207,00045Methane-based carbon reductions verified to the Chicago Climate Exchange
Blue CanyonSouthwestern OKWind33,465,82815Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Ainsworth Wind    Energy Facility Ainsworth, NEWind30,974,63014Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Holsum Irish DairyHilbert, WIFarm power16,743,9378Two-cell heated plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation
Bos & Herrema DairiesFair Oaks, INFarm power14,109,4406Plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation and onsite use of solids.
Bavarian LandfillBoone County, KYLandfill power10,714,3565Green-e certified renewable energy certificates generated from landfill gas
Garwin McNeilus wind farmDodge Center, MNWind6,613,8003Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Haubenschild Farms dairyPrinceton, MNFarm power3,086,4401Heated plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity and waste hot water used for onsite needs.
Tontitown LandfillTontitown, ARLandfill gas capture2,865,9801Methane-based carbon reductions verified to the Chicago Climate Exchange
Vander Haak Farms dairyLynden, WAFarm power2,645,5201Mixed plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation. Waste hot water used for onsite needs.



2004-2005 Project Portfolio

            

2004-2005: Total pounds of carbon reduced: 43,719,334

                                 
 
TerraPass' 2004-2005 emission reduction obligations were fulfilled from a portfolio of clean energy from wind power (32%), agricultural methane destruction connected with farm power (30%), landfill gas capture (22%), clean energy from landfill gas power (11%), and miscellaneous unspecified reductions from the Chicago Climate Exchange member portfolios (7%). All projects met our quality criteria: independent verification, ongoing monitoring, and reductions which occurred consistent with the timeframe of our external auditing cycle (in this case, late 2004 through 2005). All projects in this portfolio are listed below. 2004-2005 Chart
            

View our 2004-2005 audit in PDF format

            

Complete 2004-2005 Project Listing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Project NameLocationTypePounds of CO2 reductions% of TotalDetails
Tontitown LandfillTontitown, ARLandfill gas capture 9,479,78022Methane-based carbon reductions
Haubenschild Farms dairyPrinceton, MNFarm power7,275,18017Heated plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity and waste hot water used for onsite needs
Vander Haak Farms dairyLynden, WAFarm power 5,511,500 13Mixed plug flow digester with grid-tied electricity generation. Waste hot water used for onsite needs
Garwin McNeilus wind farmDodge Center, MNWind power 5,024,28311Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Catawba    County landfillBlackburn Landfill, Catawba County, NCLandfill gas power 4,718,726 11Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Ainsworth Wind    Energy Facility Ainsworth, NEWind power 4,303,379 10Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Chicago Climate Exchange U.S.Unspecified3,086,4407CCX member allowances purchased and retired
Mountain View I and II wind projectsSan Gorgonio Pass, CaliforniaWind power2,957,846 7Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
Cabazon/Whitewater Hill wind projectsSan Gorgonio Pass, CaliforniaWind power 1,141,7403Green-e certified renewable energy certificates
High Winds ProjectsSolano County, CAWind power220,4601Green-e certified renewable energy certificates. Local sheep and barley farmers receive per-turbine lease payments


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