More than $1 billion raised through the sale of RGGI carbon allowances in 2008-2013 and reinvested will lead to lifetime energy bill savings of $2.9 billion for consumers and businesses across the north-eastern US, while avoiding the release of more than 9 million tonnes of CO2.
This is according to estimates made by RGGI’s nine participating states, in a report released Tuesday that seeks to add transparency over spending as other states, deciding on how they might comply with the EPA’s proposed environmental regulations, consider joining the market or modelling their own schemes after it.
The report said that since RGGI was launched in 2005, carbon emissions from the nine states’ power sectors have decreased by more than 40% while the region’s economy has grown by 8% in real terms through 2013.
A total $1.6 billion was raised through allowance sales between 2008 (when the first auctions were held) and 2013 (the year with the latest data available), with $113 million withdrawn from RGGI’s reinvestment programmes with New Jersey’s exit from the scheme, and $93 million transferred to state general budget funds.
RGGI allowance prices have increased in the past couple years due to a tightening of the scheme’s cap, which has helped the states’ auction revenues top the $2 billion mark this year.
More than 60% of the $1 billion reinvestment cash has gone towards energy efficiency projects, with another 15% going to directly helping cut consumer power bills. Greenhouse gas abatement and renewable energy initiatives made up a further 9% and 8% respectively of revenues spent.
The report highlighted the scheme’s additional benefits, including reducing demand for power, thus driving down energy bills, and pumping dollars not spent on electricity and heating back into the economy.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org