Cap-and-trade policy, RGGI, keeps 12 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere & generates savings

November 19th, 2012 · Filed under: Business & Innovation, Energy Issues, Environment, Issue 35, Maine's green energy potential, Science · No Comments

“The RGGI program has provided its participating states with significant environmental, economic, and consumer returns on investment,” said David Littell, a Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and Vice-Chair of RGGI, Inc. “These investment returns have helped make the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions abatement, and are accelerating the region’s transition to a clean energy economy.”

Littell made the statement based upon a new report that summarized the consumer, economic, and environmental impact of investments made using proceeds from The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI’s) CO2 allowance auctions. The report analyzed the impact of RGGI investments made from 2009 to 2011 in the nine RGGI states which are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Regional Investment of RGGI CO2 Allowance Proceeds, report estimates that RGGI investments will offset the need for more than 27 million megawatt hours of electricity generation and 26.7 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy generation. This savings will help avoid the emission of 12 million short tons of carbon dioxide pollution, an amount equivalent to taking 2 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

“By helping to modernize the region’s energy infrastructure, RGGI investments are lowering consumer utility bills through energy efficiency, supporting development of cleaner energy sources, and reducing emission from criteria pollutants and carbon dioxide,” said Collin P. O’Mara, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “Overall, RGGI investments have turned a ‘triple-play’ that delivers significant economic, environmental, and consumer benefits to businesses and families in the region.”

The report found that, from 2009 to 2011, RGGI investments:

  • Directly benefited 2.9 million households and 7,400 businesses.
  • Generated an estimated $1.3 billion in lifetime energy bill savings for utility customers.
  • Channeled over $617 million into the region’s clean energy economy.
  • Returned $69 million in bill credits to an estimated 84,000 low-income families.
  • Helped an estimated 2,400 workers secure training in clean energy job skills.

Making an Impact

The report analyzes $617 million in RGGI investments from 2009 to 2011 across four main categories: energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy, direct energy bill assistance, and greenhouse gas abatement and climate change adaptation.

Key findings include:

  • States in the region directed 66% of their RGGI investments to energy efficiency, 5 percent to clean and renewable energy, 17 percent to direct energy bill assistance, and 6% to greenhouse gas abatement and climate change adaptation programs.
  • RGGI investments in energy efficiency have already offset the need for over 1.6 million MWhs of electricity generation and are expected to offset the lifetime need for a total of almost 22 million MWhs of electricity generation.
  • RGGI investments in renewable energy have helped avoid the need for over 178,000 MWhs of electricity generation to date, and are expected to help avoid the need for over 2.9 million MWhs of electricity over their lifetime.

RGGI investments have reduced energy costs for 2.9 million households and businesses, realized through ratepayer savings of $204 million to date and $1.3 in savings estimated over the programs’ lifetime.

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