RGGI Auction Brings over $1.7 million to Maine for Energy Efficiency Programs

By Ramona du Houx

September 10th, 2010 

Maine will receive $1,739,963 from the 9th Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Auction, part of a regional cap-and-trade program used to regulate greenhouse gases. RGGI, Inc.—the non-profit which administers the RGGI auctions–announced the news today. In all, Maine has earned a total of $22,212,477 since the first auction two years ago in September 2008.

The money—from the auction which was held Wednesday, September 8th–benefits consumers in Maine through investments in energy efficiency and programs that reduce energy costs. The auction demonstrates the effective implementation of this regional market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The auction yielded over $63,997,020 (in the current control period) for the ten states participating in RGGI to invest in the clean energy economy.

“RGGI auctions continue to set an example for the nation,” said David Littell, Board Chair of the RGGI, Inc. and Maine Public Utilities Commissioner. “Nine successful CO2 auctions have delivered allowances to the power plants that need them for compliance and enabled states to return millions of dollars to consumers through investments in energy savings and clean energy.”

Proceeds from all the RGGI auctions now total $729,281,959. Overall, states are investing the vast majority these proceeds in programs to save consumers money, further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs.

“RGGI is a proven market-based approach that shows we can reduce the risk of global warming while saving consumers money, creating green jobs and stimulating the economy,” says Beth Nagusky, Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Maine has invested $7.1 million of RGGI funds in its Industrial Energy Efficiency Grant Program– a program to provide grants between $100,000 and $1 million for large-scale energy efficiency projects, including combined heat & power (CHP) systems. In 2009 and 2010, a total of 36 grants were awarded, 19 of which were funded by RGGI. The 19 RGGI projects will avoid more than 459,817 metric tons of CO2 over their lifetime.

Across the region, states are maximizing current energy efficiency opportunities including building retrofits, heating system replacements and appliance upgrades, and saving consumers 20 to 30 percent off their energy bills. They are also investing in renewable energy sources for a long-term clean energy future by using funds to install solar, wind and geothermal energy generation systems in commercial and industrial facilities and to deploy solar energy and hot water systems at homes and businesses.

34.407,000 CO2 allowances for the first three-year control period (2009-2011) offered in Wednesday’s auction sold at a price of $1.86. Over 75 percent of allowances offered for sale were sold.

In a parallel offering, the RGGI states also auctioned CO2 allowances for the second three-year control period (2012-2014). A total of 1,312,000 CO2 allowances for the second control period sold at a price of $1.86 per allowance.

The next RGGI auction is scheduled for December 1st, 2010. Information is available at http://www.rggi.org/co2-auctions