Proceeds to date for Maine from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s are over $79 million

Maine makes over $2,265,634 in 32nd auction

Article and photos by Ramona du Houx

Maine brought in $2,265,634.20 from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), 32nd auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances.

RGGI is the first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector. 

The program, first started in Maine when Governor John Baldacci pushed for it’s implementation and had a bill introduced. The legislation won unanimous support in Maine’s Senate and House. To date RGGI has brought in $79,566,813.5 5 to the state for weatherization and alternative energy projects, for businesses and homes. 

“RGGI is working. It is helping Mainers reduce our energy bills and reduce emissions. It is a win-win and a model for the entire nation," said Former State Representative Seth Berry, who sat on Maine’s legislative committee that approved the final RGGI rules.

States sell nearly all emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other consumer benefit programs. These programs are spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating green jobs in the RGGI states.

The June 1st auction was the second auction of 2016, and generated $68.3 million for reinvestment in strategic programs, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct bill assistance, and GHG abatement programs. Cumulative proceeds from all RGGI CO2 allowance auctions exceed $2.5 billion dollars.

“In the last ten years, RGGI has successfully enabled participating states to dramatically reduce carbon pollution from the power sector,” said Jared Snyder, Deputy Commissioner at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and Vice Chair of the RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors. “The success of RGGI is an essential component of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, and is a proven model that other states can follow to drive emissions reductions while providing numerous economic benefits including creating jobs, advancing clean energy and reducing utility bills for consumers.”

Governor John Baldacci led the effort in Maine to join RGGI and had a comprehensive energy plan similar to Cuomo. Baldacci's clean energy plan focused on how to get Maine off fossil fuels and bring clean energy jobs to the state. His administration created grants to help new innovations like the floating offshore wind platforms and windmills developed at the University of Maine under Dr. Habib Dagher's leadership. (photo: Dagher talks with Gov. John Baldacci about the next steps for wind farm implementation offshore.)