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RGGI Power Plant Emissions Down 16% in 2008

ene-logo.jpgTotal power plant emissions in 2008 are on track to be about 16 percent below the prescribed cap level in 2009, according to a report from Environment Northeast (pdf).

Generation from coal- and oil-fired power plants in the 10 states that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was down through Sept. ’08.

The decline appears to be very closely linked to 2008’s high oil and coal prices, however. As those have declined significantly, 2009 emissions could be higher if the cost of “dirty fossil fuels” remains low.

Electricity consumption is also a factor: The ENE predicts that though levels have been stable in recent years, there is a possibility that hotter, more humid summers could drive up use – and therefore emissions – in the future.

Still, development and availability of non-emitting generation such as wind, hydro, and nuclear methods will likely continue at a modest pace, the report said. And dual fuel power plants that can burn either residual fuel oil or natural gas are leaning toward lower-carbon natural gas because of its low cost.

On Wednesday Dec. 17 the ten states of the RGGI region (ME, MA, NH, VT, RI, CT, NY, NJ, DE and MD) are participating in the second annual emission auction, where allowances (permits to pollute) will be sold per ton.

All 12.5 million carbon permits were sold at its first cap-and-trade auction. Fifty-nine participants from the energy, financial and environmental sectors took part in the bidding. The permits were each sold at a clearing price of $3.07, the minimum bidding price was $1.86.

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