The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI, pronounced “Reggie”) was the nation’s first cap-and-invest program, capping emissions and forcing power plants to pay for units of pollution under the cap. Through RGGI, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the program have achieved significant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and lowered other dangerous air pollutants from the electric power sector. When RGGI was implemented, it was the first program in the world to require polluters to pay for emissions allowances (permits to emit pollution).

Since the program went into effect in 2009, CO2 emissions from power plants in RGGI states have fallen by 47%, outpacing the rest of the country by 90%. Meanwhile, RGGI states have generated $3.2 billion from the sale of emissions allowances, the majority of which has been invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Consumers also benefit: electricity prices in RGGI states have fallen by 5.7%, as prices have increased in the rest of the country by 8.6%. Following RGGI’s lead, there are 57 national or subnational carbon pricing programs in place, many of them drawing on lessons learned from RGGI.

Acadia Center has been deeply engaged in RGGI’s development, strengthening, and expansion over the last 15 years. From the program’s initial design process to periodic RGGI Program Reviews, Acadia Center has been a voice for climate ambition, has provided analysis to influence policy decisions, and has convened a regional network of RGGI advocates. As the states prepare for the 2021 RGGI Program Review, Acadia Center will be working to ensure the program is designed to meet the urgency of the climate crisis while delivering clean air and affordable, clean energy to every community.