BY RAMONA DU HOUX
March 26, 2012
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), spearheaded by the Baldacci Administration in Maine, brought in $1,439,023.44 million to the state from the last cap and trade auction. To date Maine has made $30,178,278.45 in proceeds that have benefited various weatherization and energy efficiency programs in the state.
“Every dollar we keep in our region supports growth in local economies,” said David Littell, a Commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and Vice Chair of RGGI, Inc. “RGGI investments keep $765 million in our states by reducing fossil fuel expenditures. At the same time, we are reducing harmful pollution. This double impact—of enhancing local economies and reducing emissions—is what makes RGGI so effective.”
Tens of thousands of businesses and families throughout the region are already benefiting from RGGI-funded programs designed to reduce energy bills and support local jobs. Overall, the first three years of the program resulted in $1.6 billion in net economic benefit to the region, according to a recent report by the independent consulting firm, The Analysis Group. This translates into an economic benefit of $33 per person in the region.
“RGGI is yet another fantastic example of how forward thinking policies bring tangible benefits to Maine homes and businesses,” said State Rep. Jon Hinck lead Democrat on Maine’s Legislature’s Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. “I remember working tirelessly with Governor Baldacci, lawmakers and stakeholders to ensure that RGGI was passed in the legislature. We understood that it would result in lower energy costs for Maine.”
The nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the second RGGI control period announced that 21,559,000 carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances were sold in the RGGI’s 15th quarterly last March. This auction generated a total of $41.6 million in proceeds.
“The auctions have proven to be an effective and efficient way to allocate CO2 allowances. RGGI has demonstrated that market-based solutions work, promoting innovation in low-emissions technologies and providing an economic engine for investments in energy efficiency, workforce training, and bill assistance programs,” said Littell.
The nine RGGI states are conducting a comprehensive review of the programs first three years of implementation. The CO2 emissions average from 2009 to 2011 is expected to be the lowest in the decade because of emission reductions with RGGI.
“The RGGI program uses the power of economic markets to tackle one of the greatest environmental challenges for our generation,” said Collin O’Mara, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Vice Chair of RGGI, Inc. “RGGI has provided power generators with the regulatory certainty they need to invest in our energy infrastructure. At the same time, it enables our states to invest in our local economies and generate cost savings for businesses and residents. Over the past three years, we have successfully supported emissions reductions while generating economic benefits for each of our states.”
RGGI is viewed as a standard that could be implemented in regional areas across America with legislation from Congress.
“We must continue to move forward with this same type of vision to deliver cheaper, cleaner energy and address our nation’s addiction to oil. The United State’s Senate failed to act last year to develop a broader Cap-and-Trade program for the nation,” said Hinck.
The next RGGI auction is scheduled for June 6, 2012.