Tampa Electric grants $5M to University of South Florida for research on carbon reduction

Published on September 02, 2022 by Dave Kovaleski

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Tampa Electric has made a $5 million grant to the University of South Florida (USF) to fund research, education, and innovation to reduce carbon emissions.

The $5 million gift from shareholder funds will be used to create an endowed fund to support the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) in USF’s College of Engineering. It is the largest single outright gift to the college.

“This partnership is a key pillar in our vision to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Archie Collins, president and CEO of Tampa Electric, said. “We have made great progress: Carbon emissions today are half what they were in 2000, and our investment in solar power has reduced fuel costs by more than $100 million this year. But our vision of a net-zero future will not be an easy journey. The path will undoubtedly include emerging technologies and innovations. We feel a responsibility to help fund and spur that innovation, and what better partner than the talented team at USF.”

USF is one of the nation’s leading research universities with a deep and capable pool of faculty and students who can help develop innovative solutions.

“The university is committed to conducting high-impact research to help solve global problems and improve lives, and clean energy accomplishes both,” USF President Rhea Law said. “We are grateful to Tampa Electric for their investment and this opportunity to collaborate on finding innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions, find affordable clean energy alternatives and protect our beautiful Tampa Bay region.”

Tampa Electric (TECO) has worked with USF on other clean-energy solutions, including carbon sequestration, electric vehicles, smart grid technology, and solar array efficiency.

“Renewable energy resources provide substantial benefits to our society, economy, and overall health through job development and creation, and reduced carbon emissions and pollution,” Robert Bishop, dean of the USF College of Engineering, said. “The development of environmentally friendly, clean energy systems provides enormous benefits and opportunities to society through reduced dependence on non-renewal fuel sources and reduction of greenhouse gasses and air pollution.”

Since 2000, Tampa Electric has reduced coal usage by more than 90 percent and cut carbon dioxide emissions in half. The next milestone is a 60 percent carbon reduction by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2040. The company has installed nearly 900 megawatts (MW) of solar, and by the end of 2023, it will be generating enough solar energy to power 200,000 homes and will have the highest percentage of solar power of any utility in Florida.

“TECO has been a great partner for the Clean Energy Research Center for research on solar energy and student education,” CERC Director Yogi Goswami said. “We appreciate TECO’s commitment to the future of clean energy development and decarbonizing the power grid.”

Tampa Electric serves about 800,000 customers in West Central Florida. It is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.