Boston – A new report from Acadia Center shows that the northeast and mid-Atlantic states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) continues to drive down emissions while boosting economic growth, making the program a model for compliance with EPA’s forthcoming Clean Power Plan. Acadia Center’s report, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: A Model Program for the Power Sector, details emissions trends, investment benefits, and changes in regional electricity generation over RGGI’s six years of operation. The report explains why RGGI is a natural fit for compliance with the Clean Power Plan, what other states can learn from the RGGI experience, and the specific changes that the RGGI states will need to make as part of the 2016 Program Review.
- Emissions in 2014 fell 5% below the regional cap largely due to increasing generation from renewables and efficiency improvements.
- Electricity prices have declined by 2% across the region since RGGI’s launch.
- Since the program’s launch RGGI states have seen 3 times the emissions reductions of other states and 3 percentage points of additional economic growth.
According to a recent Analysis Group report, all nine of the participating states’ economies have experienced net gains as a result of RGGI, with the region as a whole seeing $2.76 billion in value added and 28,500 new job years of employment.
“The experience of the RGGI states shows that we can reduce emissions while benefitting consumers and boosting economic growth,” said Daniel L. Sosland, Acadia Center President.
“Thanks to the success of the RGGI program, states around the country have gained confidence in market-based mechanisms to reduce CO2 emissions,” said Peter Shattuck, Director of Acadia Center’s Clean Energy Initiative. “That confidence has translated into numerous multi-state groups discussing RGGI-like trading programs to comply with the Clean Power Plan.”
While the RGGI states are well positioned to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan, the upcoming 2016 Program Review offers an opportunity to implement necessary modifications to the strengthen the program. Keeping the states on track for deep emissions reductions and qualifying RGGI for compliance with the EPA rule will require:
- Extending the RGGI cap to at least 2030 in order to provide additional clarity to the market and match EPA’s timeline for achievement of CPP targets;
- Correcting the cap reduction trajectory to deliver necessary long term emissions reductions; and,
- Revising or removing the Cost Containment Reserve to ensure achievement of emissions reduction targets.
Once EPA releases the finalized Clean Power Plan, the RGGI states can begin analyzing the targets and modeling the impacts of the program reforms outlined above. “The upcoming Program Review provides an opportunity for the RGGI states to meet EPA’s targets, and continue their role as national leaders on climate,” said Jordan Stutt, Policy Analyst at Acadia Center. “Just as they did in the 2012 Program Review, we expect the RGGI states to prioritize a strengthened RGGI program as part of the 2016 review process.”
For more information see: https://acadiacenter.org/document/rggi-a-model-program-for-the-power-sector-2015-update
Peter Shattuck, Director, Clean Energy Initiative, Acadia Center
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Emily Avery-Miller, Director, External Relations, Acadia Center
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