Wednesday, November 2, 2016

RGGI Report: Investments Generate Savings, Reduce Pollution

The nine states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) today released a report tracking the investment of proceeds generated by RGGI’s regional CO2 allowance auctions. The report tracks cumulative investments made through 2014.

Throughout the period covered by the report, $1.37 billion in RGGI proceeds have been invested in programs including energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy, greenhouse gas abatement, and direct bill assistance. Energy efficiency and clean energy have made up the largest shares of RGGI investments.

The Investment of RGGI Proceeds Through 2014 also reports on the benefits of these investments across the region. The report estimates a return of $4.67 billion in lifetime energy bill savings to 4.6 million participating households and 21,400 businesses. These investments are projected to save 76.1 million MMBtu of fossil fuels and 20.6 million MWh of electricity, avoiding the release of 15.4 million short tons of harmful carbon pollution. The report’s findings build on the positive trends already seen in the region, including a 45 percent decline in power sector carbon pollution since 2005, coupled with 8 percent inflation-adjusted GDP growth.
Programs funded with RGGI investments have provided benefits and improvements to many different types of consumers and facilities. These have included private homes, local businesses, and low income housing. RGGI-funded programs have accomplished goals as diverse as funding improvements to reduce emissions from a railroad, and increasing energy efficiency at a water treatment plant. More information on these and other projects that have benefited from RGGI funding can be found in the Full Report and Fact Sheet.
Through September 2016 the RGGI states have offered allowances in 33 quarterly auctions. Allowance prices have ranged from $1.86 to $7.50. These auctions have cumulatively raised over $2.58 billion for reinvestment.

When Jessica Gulley-Ward moved into her new husband Kevin's modest-sized ranch in Bennington, Vermont three years ago, there were some issues with the home that needed a hard look. The home's dirt-floor basement that extended into a crawlspace underneath the bedrooms was poorly insulated. Attic spaces, too, were not properly sealed, and the result was a winter home temperature regularly 15 degrees cooler than the thermostat setting.

"It was very drafty," Jessica recalled. Inspired by the benefits of energy efficiency they heard about through a local radio show, the two found a list of contractors and discovered Thomas Reuter of Shaping Energies in Rutland, a participating Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® contractor. 

After a full energy audit, Reuter and the couple came up with an energy investment plan that included:
 Installing cellulose loose fill insulation in the open attic spaces above the main living quarters and bedrooms;
 Performing air sealing throughout the above-ground home areas, including air penetration areas in the attic and along floor and ceiling moldings;
 Upgrading insulation in the basement/crawlspace, and applying closed cell spray foam insulation to rim joists.

The results? The home's air leakage has been reduced by 61%, saving the couple an estimated $1,100 per year in energy costs. To help with upfront costs, the Wards received $600 in incentives from Efficiency Vermont.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the third RGGI control period (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have implemented the first mandatory market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The 2016 RGGI cap is 86.5 million short tons. The RGGI cap declines 2.5 percent each year until 2020. The RGGI states also include interim adjustments to the RGGI cap to account for banked CO2 allowances. The 2016 RGGI adjusted cap is 64.6 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 third control period began on January 1, 2015 and extends through December 31, 2017. For more information visit

About Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.) was created to provide technical and administrative services to the states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit:

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
Press Release dated September 26, 2016

Separately on September 9, 2016 in "CO2 Allowances Sold for $4.54 in 33rd RGGI Auction - $67.7 Million Raised for Reinvestment in Third Auction of 2016" at RGGI reported:

The nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, today announced the results of their 33rd auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances.

14,911,315 CO2 allowances were sold at the auction at a clearing price of $4.54. Bids for the CO2 allowances ranged from $2.10 to $12.65 per allowance. Additional details are available in the Market Monitor Report for Auction 33, which is also appended. The September 7th auction was the third auction of 2016, and generated $67.7 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 $2.58 billion dollars.

10 million cost containment reserve (CCR) allowances were also available for sale. None of the CCR allowances were sold. The CCR is a fixed additional supply of allowances that are only available for sale if CO2 allowance prices exceed certain price levels ($8 in 2016, $10 in 2017, and rising by 2.5 percent each year thereafter to account for inflation). RGGI program elements, including the CCR cap and trigger price, are potentially subject to amendment as part of the 2016 program review.

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