Clean energy agreement provides jobs, savings for Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

With stalled clean energy legislation in DC, it’s worth a reminder that many states are way ahead of the game, investing in clean energy solutions that are putting people to work, saving taxpayer dollars and creating new small business opportunities. 

The leaders of the pack are a group of Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states who are a part of a multi-state agreement called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).  I’ve discussed how RGGI works here, but perhaps more important than how a policy works is the results it creates.  And RGGI has created quite a few results that are worth spotlighting today – its two-year anniversary.

Here are just some of the highlights complied by our friends at Environment Northeast

  • $308 million has been raised from polluters to help homes and businesses expand energy efficiency programs, saving consumers more than $900 million across the RGGI region—money they can put toward other productive uses for their families and businesses.
  • These programs drive down the prices of energy as lower energy consumption reduces wholesale electric prices.  Under RGGI, wholesale electric prices are down by 40-50%.
  • RGGI has promoted pollution control programs that have cost-effectively reduced carbon pollution by about 30%.

So that’s $900 million back in our wallets, utilities prices cut by half and carbon pollution down by a third – not bad two years in.  But how do those numbers translate in real life? How about some real world stories…

Thanks to RGGI, Jackie Roberts in Maryland is saving 20% on her home energy bill every month. 

In Massachusetts, it has put Scott Newman back to work

In New Jersey, it’s providing no-interest loans to energy-smart businesses. 

In New York, it’s funding a solar-rebate program for consumers who want to invest in clean home energy.

In New Hampshire, it will help keep Foss Manufacturing competitive and expand its workforce in tough economic times.   

Basically - RGGI is delivering significant new investments in energy efficiency and clean energy that reduce energy bills, increase jobs, and grow the economy. Pretty impressive resume for a policy that’s barely out of its infancy. 

But now we need others to join the bandwagon of success.  These types of energy and economic gains needn’t be exclusive to the Northeast.  We can create a clean energy future that grows the economy, creates jobs and cleans the air anywhere and everywhere we put our minds to it. 

As cryptic as some may want to make RGGI out to be --- smart energy policies provide clear and clean results that are very hard to argue with.  Will that stop people from arguing?  No.  But hopefully it will stop people from listening to their baseless rhetoric.

For more successes that tell the real story of this policy, go here: http://www.rggi.org/rggi_benefits/success_stories.

About the Authors

Dale Bryk

Chief Planning and Integration Officer

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