DEEP: DEEP Commissioner Esty Comments on New Regulations For Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

November 26, 2013
 
DEEP Commissioner Esty Comments on New Regulations For Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
 
Commissioner Daniel C. Esty of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection released the following statement following  approval today of revised regulations governing Connecticut’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by the General Assembly’s Regulations Review Committee: 
 
“We thank the Regulations Review Committee for approval of revised regulations allowing for Connecticut’s continued participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  The committee vote today is yet another example of the bipartisan and thoughtful approach Governor Malloy and the legislature have taken on energy issues.”
 
“Connecticut’s continued participation in RGGI will benefit our state, as the program has been an unqualified success as the nation’s first innovative, market-based mechanism to cost-effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions – which contribute to climate change – from electric power plants. It has played a major role in reducing carbon emissions in our state and region while providing funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs – all at a minimal cost to electric ratepayers.”
 
“Our revised regulations will allow Connecticut to participate in a RGGI program that is even stronger and more effective.  This new phase of RGGI will lock in emissions reductions achieved to date by lowering the overall regional cap and aligning it more closely with current levels.  In addition, it establishes a process for annual reductions in the cap through 2020.” 
 
“These changes in the RGGI program are consistent with President Obama’s climate change initiative and its focus on reducing carbon emissions from power plants.  Connecticut and the RGGI region have taken the lead on this issue and created a model for our nation.  RGGI serves as an example for policy makers in Washington to consider as they work to establish national policy.”
 
Background
 
  • The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in RGGI (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.

  • Under RGGI, emission allowances are sold at auctions and the proceeds are reinvested in projects that support clean energy technologies and greater energy efficiency, and help lower consumer energy bills while driving further reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.

  • The RGGI region has seen climate pollution from power plants decline overall by 40% from 2005 to 2012.  The proposed revised regulations would lock in the emission reductions achieved to date by lowering the 2014 regional cap from 165 million tons of CO2 to 91 million, which is more closely aligned with current emissions levels.

  • To achieve further pollution reductions, the cap would decline an additional 2.5 percent year from 2015 to 2020.  The cumulative regional effect of the lower cap is an estimated reduction of 86 million tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking more than 16 million cars off the road for one year.

  • Under the program changes, the 2014 cap in Connecticut would decline from 10,695,036 tons to 5,891,895 tons.   Carbon dioxide emissions during calendar year 2012 from the plants subject to Connecticut’s regulation were 6,819,154.55 tons.

  • As a result of funds from RGGI auctions that have been held since September 2008, Connecticut has received $87.8 million for investment in energy efficiency programs managed by the state’s Energy Efficiency Board renewable energy projects financed through the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.