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  Rather than ending New Hampshire's participation in a regional cap-and-trade program designed to limit carbon emissions, House members have voted to stay in the program but send more of the profits back to ratepayers.

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  A bill to take New Hampshire out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, has been changed in the House Committee on Science, Technology and Energy.

It would now maintain New Hampshire’s participation in the program but would allocate all of the money raised by the program away from renewable energy projects and into electric rate relief.

Right now, the state puts four out of every five dollars it gets per carbon allowance into rate subsidies.

A proposal to remove New Hampshire from a multi-state carbon cap-and trade program appears to have little public support.The House Science, Technology and Energy Committee took testimony on the bill Thursday morning. Two Republican lawmakers spoke in favor of the bill during the first two hours of the hearing while several state officials and members of the public spoke against it.Mike Fitzgerald with the Department of Environmental Services noted that participating in the program, called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI , will likely make the state compliant with proposed fed

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Customers of the state’s largest electric utility are set to get a tiny reprieve in their bills. Public Service of New Hampshire’s latest rate filing forecasts the average customer will save 31 cents a month, despite rising energy costs.

Data: RGGI.org / NHPR

In the latest quarterly auction of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, the cost for the right to emit a ton of carbon has again reached a new high. Speculation that more states could join RGGI could be driving interest in carbon allowances.

The announcement of the new EPA rules jazzed the latest RGGI auction. When the prices came out Friday morning, they were at $5.02 per ton of CO2, up from $4.00 in the last auction.

SNL; http://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/Article.aspx?cdid=A-28272515-14375

A lot of reporters were distracted by the big number in yesterday's announcement of proposed reductions in carbon dioxide emissions: 30 percent by 2030. Indeed that was the lead sentence in almost every news story about the new rules. 

But the 30 percent figure is not how the Environmental Protection Agency will measure success of the new regulations. The figure is arbitrary, chosen to give some nationwide context to what the state-by-state goals would mean.

The goals the EPA actually set vary quite a lot from state to state. And, indeed, how the agency arrived at those figures is a good deal more complicated than just picking a nice, round number.

Flkr Creative Commons / PSNH

Under a proposed rule out of the EPA Monday, New Hampshire will have to come up with its own plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, many of the building blocks for that plan are already in place.

The new EPA rule says that New Hampshire should emit 486 pounds of carbon per megawatt hour of electricity generated, and that, as of 2012, New Hampshire’s rate was 905 pounds per megawatt hour.

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When President Obama announced that he wanted the EPA to fast-track regulations on carbon emissions at existing power plants, the outcry was immediate.

“How are we all to blame?” asked Joe Manchin, Democratic senator from West Virginia, on Fox and Friends, “and why are we taking the hit that we’re going to be taking? Why is this economy going to be taking this hit? Why are jobs going to be lost? …and they will be lost!”


The  price power plants will pay to emit a ton of carbon reached a new high in the latest Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction.

This quarter, it cost $4 to buy the right to emit a ton of carbon dioxide; previously, the highest price was $3.51, set in 2009.

In total New England power plant operators spent nearly $94 million to comply with  RGGI, funds which most states reinvest into energy efficiency programs.

The rising price is the result of a lower cap on carbon dioxide that the New England States enacted last year, and which took effect this auction.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

When it comes to investing in energy efficiency, many in New Hampshire’s clean energy sector are worried the state is falling behind the rest of the region. A recent national report seems to bear that out. It ranks New Hampshire last in New England for efficiency policies. But efforts to ramp up the least controversial energy policy – using less – could have a hard time getting the support of the state’s business community.

Christian Patti / http://christianpatti.com/

The nine states that are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have written the EPA to ask that RGGI be used as a model for forthcoming national regulations on emissions from existing power plants.

The EPA has already released rules on how much carbon dioxide new power plants are allowed to emit, But the rules that will crack down on existing plants are still in the works.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR; Data: RGGI

Results have been posted from the latest auction of allowances for emitting a ton of carbon dioxide under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI. After rising in the first half of the year prices and demand have leveled off this quarter. The right to emit a ton of carbon sold for $2.67 this quarter.

That’s down nearly 17 percent from the last auction, but still substantially higher than the floor price where it had been trading for more than two years.

New Hampshire’s Senate has joined the House of Representatives and voted to ratchet down the cap on carbon dioxide restrictions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. Because of the historic rise of cleaner burning natural gas, it’s been easy for  carbon dioxide RGGI’s existing caps. So earlier this year, the RGGI board asked the member states to lower those caps by 45 percent.

Revising RGGI

Feb 12, 2013

Under RGGI, or the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, power-plants in nine Northeastern states, including New Hampshire, have had to cap carbon emissions for the past four years.  Now, RGGI officials want to lower the caps, making utilities tighten up more, but there’s opposition to this in New Hampshire. We look at the arguments and what may happen next!


Grant Bosse - Lead Investigator for the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

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The nine states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are recommending reducing the cap on power-plant carbon emissions by 45%. The New Hampshire representative on the RGGI board is Tom Burack commissioner of of the DES. 

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Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House and Senate have agreed to try to reform RGGI – the region’s carbon cap-and-trade program – instead of trying to repeal it outright.

The bill that will go to the House and Senate for a final vote would only send around half of the RGGI fund money to energy efficiency programs. The rest would be rebated to electricity rate-payers.

Flikr Creative Commons / Jim.Richmond

Republican are working at finding common language on a bill that would weaken or repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI. They will have to agree on a version that will get enough votes to overcome a governor’s veto.

Sam Evans-Brown

The House is again considering a bill that would repeal the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a carbon cap and trade program.

Opponents and supporters of RGGI wearily filed into the Statehouse, ready to go over the well-rehearsed talking points that they used the last time the program was on the chopping block.

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E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that some Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. states have banded together to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. Can you enlighten?   -- Bo Clifford, Cary, NC


Two recent reports examined the impact of this Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI on New Hampshire. One touts the energy savings that have come from the program, the other suggests that the Granite State may not be benefiting as much as other participating states. We’ll look closer at these two studies and how they may play into bills aimed at repealing or revising RGGI this year in the legislature.  


Study Shows RGGI Saves Consumers Money

Nov 15, 2011

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative faces an uncertain future in some states. New Jersey plans to end its participation and New Hampshire has considered legislation that would do the same.

But a new analysis shows the carbon dioxide cap and trade program has saved consumers money and created jobs. Under the program, power producers buy pollution allowances at auction for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.