April auction brings in over $4 million for clean energy and energy saving measures

By Ramona du Houx

 Maine received $4.19 million dollars from the 51st auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission allowances traded the first quarter of 2021. The results of the auction were announced by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap and trade program that reduces CO2 emissions from power plants generating more than 25 megawatts. Eleven states participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.

Participating states limit, or “cap,” CO2 emissions from power plants in order to reduce air pollution. Companies then purchase allowances at auction that permit them to emit only so many millions of tons of CO2 gas from power plants generating more than 25 megawatts of electricity.

“The auction has generated more than $127 Million for the State of Maine to reinvest in strategic programs, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct bill assistance, and greenhouse gas abatement programs,” said Chairman Philip L. Bartlett, II. “The program is effective in securing significant emissions reductions while also strengthening local economies through reinvestment.”

The auction, or trade, component of the program generates revenues for all eleven participating states.  Total proceeds from this auction were $178.4 million.  Since the program began in 2005, it has generated a cumulative $3.9 Billion.

About the Commission

The Maine Public Utilities Commission regulates electric, telephone, water and gas utilities to ensure that Maine citizens have access to safe and reliable utility service at rates that are just and reasonable for all ratepayers.  Commission programs include Maine Enhanced 911 Service, gas safety and Dig Safe.  Philip L. Bartlett, II serves as Chairman, Bruce Williamson and Randall Davis serve as Commissioners.

About the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Eastern states participating in the fifth RGGI control period (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) have implemented the first mandatory market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2021 RGGI cap is 119.8 million short tons.

RGGI is composed of individual CO2 budget trading programs in each state, based on each state’s independent legal authority. A CO2 allowance represents a limited authorization to emit one short ton of CO2, as issued by a respective state. A regulated power plant must hold CO2 allowances equal to its emissions for each three-year control period. RGGI’s fifth control period began on January 1, 2021 and extends through December 31, 2023. For more information visit www.rggi.org.

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