BALTIMORE, MD (February 7, 2013) - The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, announced a proposed change to RGGI that will strengthen the program and is projected to reduce 2020 power sector CO2 pollution more than 45 percent below 2005 levels.
In today's announcement, RGGI stated that the new cap would preserve the significant reductions that have already occurred in power sector CO2 emissions, and drive further reductions. The new cap is projected to generate cumulative emission reductions in the range of 80-90 million tons by 2020.
RGGI is a cornerstone of Maryland's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020.
Five years ago, RGGI held its first regional auction for CO2 allowances in the country -- starting our regional transition to a green energy economy. The changes outlined in today’s Updated Model Rule and Program Review Recommendation Summary build upon RGGI’s success and will strengthen the program moving forward.
What will proposed improvements mean for the Region?
- Reduce projected 2020 power sector CO2 pollution more than 45 percent below 2005 levels.
- Preserve the significant reductions that have already occurred in power sector CO2 emissions, and drive further reductions. The new cap is projected to generate approximately 80 - 90 million tons of cumulative emission reductions by 2020, when
compared to the current RGGI program -- which is the equivalent of taking 14 million cars off the road for a year in the region
What will proposed improvements mean for Maryland?
- An additional reduction of 3.6 million tons of CO2 pollution from Maryland power plants by 2020 -- the equivalent of taking nearly 600,000 cars off the road for a year
- An additional $250 million in personal income for Marylanders due to energy bill savings through 2040
- An added $150 million to Maryland's economy
How does Maryland invest RGGI auction proceeds?
The RGGI auction proceeds that Maryland receives are held in the Strategic Energy Investment Fund, which provides funding for State energy programs, including energy efficiency, conservation and demand response programs (of which half must be used on low and moderate income families), low income ratepayer relief, clean energy programs and climate change education and outreach.
For more information on the proposed improvements, view RGGI's press release
“Today’s RGGI announcement to strengthen the regional cap on CO2 emissions from the power sector facilitates our ability to achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals in Maryland. I applaud the decision of the participating states to propose a new regional cap that will result in meaningful environmental and public benefits and provide for greater investment in our energy efficiency programs and our green energy economy. "
--Martin O'Malley, Governor, State of Maryland
"The RGGI program is vitally important to our efforts to address climate change in Maryland. The energy sector is the largest contributor to Maryland's greenhouse gas emissions. These proposed RGGI program changes will lead us down the right path to further reduce future CO2 emissions from the power sector."
--Robert M. Summers, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment