As a part of its approach to sustainability, American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) is committed to reducing the environmental impacts of our operations, including our carbon footprint. AMP is investing in cost-effective carbon offset projects – with an initial emphasis on reforestation – to begin to “offset” a portion of the emissions of our fossil generation.
What are Carbon Offsets?
Carbon offsets can be created when specific, measurable actions are undertaken that result in reduced emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The accumulation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, whether naturally occurring or the result of burning fossil fuels, is viewed by some as contributing to global climate change. By reducing – or “offsetting” – emissions of CO2 from our electric generation operations, AMP is demonstrating our commitment to sustainability.
AMP's Carbon Offsets/Reforestation Projects
AMP is working with states, communities and private entities in our member footprint states to identify, evaluate and develop appropriate carbon offset projects that use the natural growth process of trees to hold (or sequester) CO2 in the living wood, roots and forest soils, thus preventing its escape to the atmosphere. Based on the process of photosynthesis (see diagram), trees can provide an excellent source of carbon offsets. Specific scientific protocols have been established to measure the accumulation of carbon in trees (based on species, age, climate and other criteria), and AMP will be using these to certify any future carbon offsets that are expected to result from our forestry carbon projects.
Projects on Strip-mined Lands/American Chestnut
One focus of AMP’s reforestation/forestry carbon offset projects is to return former strip-mined lands to forests, which, in addition to removing CO2 from the atmosphere, can provide additional benefits to local areas. These include visual esthetics as well as improved habitat for wildlife, water quality and recreational areas. Also, AMP is working with university scientists and foresters in an effort to reestablish the American chestnut as a key species in appropriate areas. Studies have shown that one hybrid strain of the American chestnut is particularly suited to the higher soil acidity generally found on former strip-mined lands. Once ubiquitous throughout forests in the Eastern U.S., the American chestnut nearly became extinct due to a pervasive blight in the early 1900s. The American Chestnut Foundation is a leader in efforts to re-introduce the hybrids back into the historic range of the American chestnut.