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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states have, in the face of federal inaction, agreed on a region-wide greenhouse gas emissions limit, enforced through the sale of pollution permits to large fossil fuel power plants there.
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.
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.