County commission to consider selling carbon credits

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

ALBANY -- The Dougherty County Commission is considering a partnership with a company that will allow the county to sell carbon credits on the open market to generate additional revenue.

In a move that started in 2004, the county is now in a position, thanks to its landfill gas-to-energy program, to generate roughly $96,000 in a one-time transaction by selling its carbon credits, officials say.

The deal allows the county to sell the credits for the next three months. That is the window of time before the county's existing agreement with the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany goes into effect.

Last year, the county solidified an agreement with the Navy and Marine Corps to pump the methane generated as a byproduct by the landfill to MCLB-Albany for use as energy on the base.

That agreement also grants MCLB-Albany the carbon credits the methane capturing process will generate, county officials say.

The county's subcommittee on public works voted earlier Monday to recommend the commission make the move.

"This is just the gift that keeps on giving, I'll tell you that," Dougherty County Commissioner and Public Works Committee Chairman Jack Stone said. "We've done something here that will help keep our Marine base here, and we'll be able to generate a little bit of revenue."

The landfill gas-to-energy partnership with the Navy was an innovative arrangement. It was the first time the Pentagon had partnered with a local government to meet energy needs aboard a government installation using methane.

Methane is a byproduct of the garbage decomposition process and is typically burned off so that it can't reach the atmosphere where scientists believe it damages ozone layers and contributes to the greenhouse effect.

The $96,000 the county expects to earn from selling the carbon credits will go into its enterprise fund, which helps fund improvements and repairs, as well as vehicles for use at the landfill.