The Northeastern US states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) are investing about $410 million into energy efficiency, according to a new report.
The funds represent 52% of $789.2 million raised from the auctioning of carbon allowances.
An additional 11% of the funds have been invested in renewable energy; 14% for bill payment assistance; and 1% for a "variety of additional greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs."
In total, the report finds that, RGGI participating states are investing 80% of CO2 allowance proceeds in consumer benefit and strategic energy programs.
Other key findings include:
- State investments create jobs and train the workers needed to fill them. States are investing proceeds as part of a two-pronged strategy to create clean energy jobs, and to train energy auditors, contractors and engineers to fill them. Several graduates of RGGI-funded job training programs have started successful businesses of their own.
- Investments in energy efficiency are reducing energy costs for consumers and businesses. Many consumers who participate in RGGI-funded weatherization and retrofitting programs realize energy bill savings of 15% to 30%. Several businesses have realized energy cost savings great enough to retain or add new employees.
- Investments are generating significant economic returns, in the form of energy savings and improved electric system reliability. Several RGGI states are finding that energy efficiency and renewable energy programs provide $3-$4 in savings for every $1 invested. When macroeconomic benefits are considered, the returns are even greater.
Amey Marrella, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, said: "Our investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy show that utilities, businesses and municipalities working together can achieve significant energy savings while at the same time creating good jobs in Connecticut. In 2010, Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs created direct employment for more than 2,500 people and saved enough electricity to power 442,476 homes for a year. These same programs also helped 1,886 commercial and industrial customers boost their bottom line with $5.8 million in annual energy savings."
The report is available here.
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Republicans in New Hampshire's legislature took their first step toward withdrawing the state from the RGGI this month, passing a bill out of committee that advocates say may have enough support to override a potential veto by Gov. John Lynch.
Read the full Reuters story at the link below.