RGGI completed its ninth auction of CO2 emission allowances on September 8. RGGI is the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that includes ten states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont). RGGI, the first mandatory, market-based CO2 emissions control system in the United States, has been in full operation since 2007.
Prices for CO2 permits fell to their lowest level — $1.86 per ton — mainly because of electricity demand that has yet to rebound to pre-recession levels. Prices hit a high of $3.51 per ton in March 2009. Most of the permits are purchased by electric power generators.
Lower prices mean fewer funds are available to channel into energy efficiency and green jobs.
“RGGI state investments in efficiency and renewable energy sources provide triple benefits – to the environment, consumers and the economy,” said Shari Wilson, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment. “By leveraging federal, state, and private investments, the investments made with RGGI proceeds in Maryland this year will save families and businesses more than $125 million, while creating 630 new green collar jobs.”
The next auction is scheduled for December 1.