The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative cuts global warming pollution from power plants, sets us on a path toward a clean energy future, and harnesses the power of the free market to reduce pollution in the most cost-effective way.
RGGI protects our health and environment while making Maine more efficient and creating new business opportunities. It also puts Maine in prime position to meet—or even exceed—the carbon pollution standards in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Six years of savings (2009-2014)
$214 Million Net Increase to the Maine Economy
The majority of Maine’s revenue from RGGI auctions of carbon credits is used to increase energy-efficiency programs for homes and businesses through Efficiency Maine. One-third of the funds are used for home weatherization and other home heating efficiency upgrades. Additional funds provide energy efficiency grants to industrial companies like Jackson Labs in Bar Harbor, Madison Paper in Madison, and GAC Chemical in Searsport. Through the end of 2013, Maine homes, businesses, and other institutions have saved $257 million on energy bills thanks to RGGI. (See NRCM’s series of energy efficiency case studies to learn specific examples of RGGI-funded savings in action.)
Because energy efficiency investments such as these keep money in Maine’s economy, instead of sending it out-of-state to purchase oil, gas and electricity, RGGI produces economy-wide benefits. For every dollar invested in energy efficiency in Maine, the state’s gross state product (GSP) jumps $4. So far, RGGI has increased Maine’s Gross State Product by $214 million, and created several hundred jobs across the entire state economy. (1)
Economic Benefits Include:
Increased investment in energy efficiency for homes and businesses—cutting home heating bills and lowering electric costs for everyone from manufacturers to school districts to “Mom & Pop” convenience stores.
Energy efficiency means a reinvestment in Maine businesses and manufacturing facilities—making it more likely that they will stay in Maine and create jobs.
Creates a framework for making good decisions about our energy system. Choosing clean energy sources that produce less global warming pollution today will decrease our reliance on foreign fossil fuels and help lower long-term energy costs.
Leaves more money in Mainers’ pockets to spend on other products and services, increasing economic activity.
Businesses Support RGGI and Power Plant Global Warming Reductions:
“Global warming poses significant threats to the economy of the Northeast, but there are significant opportunities to be gained from an early response to the problem. … As business leaders, we understand that addressing greenhouse gas emissions in our own operations brings many benefits – not the least of which is an improvement in the bottom line.”
—Stanley Bennett, Oakhurst Dairy, Portland, Maine
“As one of the country’s largest generators of electricity, Entergy considers climate change to be among the most significant long term issues facing policymakers today. … RGGI can improve our global environment without sacrificing electricity reliability and affordability that is essential to State and broader RGGI region.” —Gary Serio, VP for Safety and Environment, Entergy
“We see RGGI as an important component in the region’s economic growth and development of renewable energy products to reduce the region’s impact on climate change…We believe that flexible market mechanisms will deliver cost-effective emissions reductions.”
—Mark Buckley, VP for Environmental Affairs, Staples
“We’re talking about the type of business issue that comes along perhaps once in a century. Those companies and industries which deny the issue will be marginalized and ignored.”
—David Crane, Chief Executive, NRG
“The approach developed through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative rewards innovation and demonstrates that the region can address climate change using a market based approach.” —Bank of America
1 “Economy-wide Benefits of RGGI,” Environment Northeast, December 2010, Table 1.