Investments made between 2009 and 2011 using proceeds from the allowance auctions of The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a cap-and-trade system for power plants in certain northeast and mid-Atlantic states – will help avoid the emission of 12 million short tons of carbon dioxide pollution, according to a report released by the states participating in the program.
RGGI is composed of individual CO2 budget trading programs in each state. Allowances, each worth one short ton of CO2, are sold in periodic auctions and a portion of profits are used by the states to invest in energy efficiency infrastructure and renewable energy.
As well as the carbon reduction, the 2009 to 2011 investments will offset the need for more than 27 million MWh of electricity generation and 26.7 million BTUs of energy generation, according to Regional Investment of RGGI CO2 Allowance Proceeds, 2011.
In addition to their environmental impact, RGGI investments have also had a positive impact on consumer energy bills and the regional clean energy economy. The report found that, from 2009 to 2011, RGGI investments:
- Generated an estimated $1.3 billion in lifetime energy bill savings for utility customers.
- Channeled over $617 million into the region’s clean energy economy.
- Returned $69 million in bill credits to an estimated 84,000 low-income families.
- Helped an estimated 2,400 workers secure training in clean energy job skills.
The report analyzes $617 million in RGGI investments from 2009 to 2011 and found that states directed 66 percent of this money to energy efficiency, 5 percent to clean and renewable energy, 17 percent to direct energy bill assistance, and 6 percent percent to greenhouse gas abatement and climate change adaptation programs.
The RGGI sold 29.9 million allowances, or just 57 percent of its more than 36.4 million allowances offered for sale at its 16th quarterly auction in June 2012. The clearing price of $1.93 matched the previous auction in March and was up slightly from the $1.89 price yielded at the December auction. The June auction netted $40.4 million in funds, with CO2 credit bids ranging between $1.93 and $6.14.