A study released today documents the powerful benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – the nation-leading effort by Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants while building up energy efficiency and clean energy efforts in the states.
The study found that RGGI created $1.6 Billion in net economic benefits across the region ($888 million in New England alone). The program saved electricity customers $1.3 Billion on their energy bills region-wide due to investment by the program in energy efficiency and created 16,000 Job Years (a standard measure of employment) during the first 3 years of the program (including temporary and permanent positions). The cost of the program was minimal, creating an imperceptible 0.7% electricity price increase on customer bills across the region that was more than offset by the benefits of the program.
CLF has been deeply involved with the RGGI program from its inception. We strongly believe that this is solid proof that RGGI, while first and foremost an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is also a win for the economy, consumers and business, as well as the environment.
We must apply the lessons of RGGI to date and move beyond this pilot phase, scaling up the program to further reduce pollution, create even more jobs and reduce energy bills on a much greater scale, and take this effort into other parts of the nation.
RGGI has proved that a well-designed greenhouse gas reduction policy is a win for just about everybody. The complaints (amplified by their well-financed megaphone) from the filthy few companies who make their money by extracting and selling coal and oil, at great cost in lives and environmental damage, should not distract us from hearing that very positive story.