Since creating the interstate compact to cut utility sector carbon emissions in 2009, the RGGI states have cut their carbon emissions from electric generation by 37 percent and reduced electricity prices by 3.4 percent, all while growing their economies 3.6 percent faster than states outside their club, according to a study by the clean energy nonprofit Acadia Center.
“All of the program’s history suggests we can continue to go after these emissions reductions aggressively without causing a burden to ratepayers,” said Jordan Stutt, a policy analyst at the Acadia Center.
Stutt pointed to modeling conducted for the RGGI states showing that the tighter cap would result in 99 million avoided tons of carbon dioxide through 2031—the equivalent of one year’s worth of emissions from 26 coal plants. The cost would be less than a tenth of a penny per kilowatt-hour for consumers. (For an average U.S. household consuming 900 kilowatt-hours per month, that would be equivalent to a 90 cent electric bill increase.)
The clean energy drive has provided benefits beyond fighting climate change—in significantly fewer premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma attacks, and respiratory illnesses, according to an Abt Associates study released earlier this year. It quantified the health savings at $5.7 billion.
“No matter how you slice it, this program has been a major success,” Stutt said.
Read the full article from InsideClimate News here.