Looking Ahead for RGGI

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a market-based regulatory program across multiple Northeast states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont). RGGI is a cap-and-trade approach that (among other things) imposes a CO2 emissions budget, allocates CO2 allowances through quarterly auctions, and tracks emissions and allowance information. RGGI recently released materials for the next allowance auction to be held on December 2, 2015.

The Acadia Center’s What’s Next for RGGI? discusses how the RGGI states can use their program to comply with the Clean Power Plan. The report states that the RGGI cap, as currently structured, will not ensure compliance with the CPP targets and suggests several changes to the program model. The report also notes, though, that the CPP and the proposed federal implementation plan provide a “nudge” for other states to work toward implementing RGGI-type programs (or joining RGGI).

For more background, RGGI and the CPP was a topic at FERC’s Eastern Regional Technical Conference on the Clean Power Plan (held on March 11, 2015 in Docket No. AD15-4). Kelly Speakes-Backman (who was, at that time, a Commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission and Chair of the RGGI Board of Directors) discussed lessons learned. Acting Assistant Administrator McCabe highlighted RGGI as an “excellent example of a regional program that successfully balances GHG emission reductions and reliability.”

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