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  • Maine earns over $3.6 million in 26th RGGI cap-n-trade auction

     

    To date Maine has generated $59,680,379.88 from RGGI.

     By Ramona du Houx

    Maine earned over $3.6 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) 26th auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances. RGGI is the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas pollution— essentially the East Coast’s successful cap-and-trade program. RGGI has become a model for the nation and shows positive results that the EPA's Clean Power Plan can use as evidence for their market-based regulatory program.

    “I think these RGGI efforts are good for the economy and the environment. One that truly works hand and hand,” said Former Governor John Baldacci, whose administration spearheaded the creation of RGGI with other regional states.

    To date Maine has generated $59,680,379.88 from RGGI. The nine states participating in the collation have earned $1.9 billion cumulatively from all RGGI CO2 allowance auctions.

    "Our RGGI experience demonstrates that cost-effective approaches to implementing EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan are available and if correctly designed can support state economies,” said Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and a Vice-Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. 

    After 26 successful auctions, the RGGI states have demonstrated that it is possible to cost effectively achieve pollution reduction goals while maintaining grid reliability and affordability for consumers,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission and Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “As our second control period draws to a close, the RGGI states continue to deliver cleaner air and economic benefits for our region. ”Cumulative proceeds from all RGGI CO2 allowance auctions currently total $1.9 billion dollars."

     The 26th auction generated more than $94 million for reinvestment by the RGGI states in a variety of consumer benefit initiatives, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct bill assistance, and greenhouse gas abatement programs.

    According to the independent market monitor’s report, electricity generators and their corporate affiliates have won 78 percent of CO2 allowances sold in RGGI auctions since 2008. RGGI requires a regulated power plant to hold CO2 allowances equal to its emissions to demonstrate compliance for each three-year control period. RGGI’s second control period began on January 1, 2012 and ends on December 31, 2014. Regulated power plants will be required to demonstrate compliance for the second control period on March 2, 2015.

    "The RGGI states have successfully pioneered the nation’s first market-based program to reduce carbon pollution, achieving a 40 percent reduction in power sector emissions since 2005 and revising the emissions cap to achieve a 50 percent reduction by 2020,” said Joe Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and a Vice-Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “Reinvestment of auction proceeds is stimulating a market transformation to greater energy efficiency and growth of clean energy, and that yields economic, social and environmental benefits."

    "Our RGGI experience demonstrates that cost-effective approaches to implementing EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan are available and if correctly designed can support state economies,” said Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and a Vice-Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors.

  • New Maine Report: Wind energy, tax credits needed to combat global warming

    Article and photo of Kibby Mt. by Ramona du Houx

     Wind energy is on the rise in Maine and is providing large environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report released December 4, 2014 by Environment Maine. Maine’s wind energy avoided 1 million metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution in 2013, which is equivalent to eliminating the pollution from more than 110,000 cars. The report also finds that Maine has the potential to obtain 30 percent of its energy from wind power, enough to avoid pollution from over 2 million cars.

    “Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Laura Dorle, Campaign Organizer for Environment Maine. “This analysis comes at the same time as lawmakers jockey over the fate of important federal wind energy tax credits that were unfortunately were allowed to expire last year. We need Senators Susan Collins and Angus King to act now to get these tax credits extended through next year, an important step to ensuring a clean energy future." 

    Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

     “Wind energy isn’t just good for the environment and our health, it is Maine’s economic future,” said Paul Williamson of the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative. “The wind industry has invested more than $1 billion in Maine over the last 10 years, putting more than 700 local Maine businesses to work across all 16 counties. That represents thousands of real jobs for local people. And the industry is poised to invest almost $2 billion new dollars in Maine during the next three years alone. Wind is Maine’s future.”

    Wind power projects such as the Mars Hill Project near the town of Mars Hill in Aroostook County already produced enough energy in 2013 to power over 96,000 homes.  Moreover, the analysis predicts offshore wind will expand significantly in Maine over the next 15 years, with the capacity to produce enough power for over 1 million homes.

    “Maine needs a secure and diverse supply of homegrown energy resources to power our state. We also need to put more people back to work. Wind energy delivers in both of these areas.” said Don Berry of the Maine IBEW Union.

    America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast.

    Under the John Baldacci administration clean energy initiatives helped grow the wind, wood, wave and solar power in the state. The Governor was and continues to be a strong supporter of the University of Maine's wind energy programs that have created the first offshore floating wind turbine and platform in North America. Over 40 nuclear power plants of energy can be captured from Maine's offshore wind sources, making the state an ideal location for wind farms at sea. And UMaine can help Maine companies build offshore wind farms. In addition the Baldacci administration worked with the legislature and Public Utilities Commission to establish strong goals for clean energy increasing the state’s renewable energy portfolio.

    The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes as days after the comment period closed for the Clean Power Plan, which would reduce pollution from power plants in the U.S. by 30 percent by 2030. Over 8 million Americans including 50,000 Mainers voiced their support for the plan and are ready to act on climate.

     “This report shows that wind power is an important tool to combat global warming and protect marine resources like shellfish,” said State Senator Chris Johnson who serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources as well as the Ocean Acidification Commission in the Maine Legislature. “That’s why we should affirm the Clean Power Plan, and reinstate the tax credits that can spur more wind development here in Maine.”

    Additionally State Senator Rebecca Millett voiced her support for expanded wind power in Maine stating, “The acidification of our ocean waters and resulting impact on Maine's important fishing livelihoods speaks volumes to the need for us to get serious about carbon free emission energy sources. Maine is perfectly poised to be a central player in this effort with offshore wind production and is a win-win by helping to protect its important fishing industry and creating new jobs.”