First RGGI 2010 Auction Yields $87.9M for Member States

The states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on March 12 announced the results of the first quarterly auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances in 2010. The auction, held Wednesday, March 10, yielded $87,956,944.56 for investment in the clean energy economy.

All of the 40,612,408 CO2 allowances for the first three-year control period (2009-2011) offered in Wednesday’s auction sold at a price of $2.07.

In a parallel offering, the RGGI states also auctioned CO2 allowances for the second three-year control period (2012-2014). A total of 2,091,000 of the 2,137,992 CO2 allowances for the second control period sold at a price of $1.86. Unsold allowances may be sold in future auctions according to each state’s regulations.

Proceeds from all auctions held to date now total more than $582.3 million. States are investing proceeds to improve energy efficiency and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies, creating thousands of jobs.

"RGGI has provided a roadmap to a clean energy future," said David Littell, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. Board of Directors. "With each successful auction, the RGGI states continue to show that cap-and-trade works and can jumpstart a green economy with fewer emissions, lower electric bills and more jobs."

Across the region, businesses are hiring workers to implement the growing variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs funded with RGGI CO2 allowance proceeds. In particular, companies that conduct energy audits and install home weatherization measures are expanding to meet the demand for efficiency services. The workforce at the Center for Ecological Technology, a company that conducts RGGI-funded efficiency work on behalf of electric utilities in New England, has doubled over the last year, from 50 to 100 full-time employees, according to Laura Dubester, the company’s co-director. New positions range from field technicians and quality control personnel to IT and customer service specialists.

Conservation Services Group, a national energy services firm, has also doubled its workforce over the last 30 months. According to Maureen Huffam, the company’s senior vice president of Human Resources, "We hired 170 people last year. Today, we are at 592 employees, with 270 of them in New England. Just two months into this year, we've already hired 41 people. RGGI has certainly contributed to this increase in the number of jobs we've filled."

RGGI state investments in energy efficiency also create jobs in design, manufacturing and technology development.

"Expanded efficiency programs, funded in part by RGGI, are expected to create or maintain nearly 4,000 jobs in Massachusetts over three years," said Phil Giudice, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. "The people trained and employed through these programs are designing and installing cost-effective efficiency measures that cut energy waste and save consumers money."

“The programs funded with RGGI proceeds are currently supporting approximately 200 full-time jobs in New Hampshire," said Clifton Below, commissioner of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission. "Every new job in this growth industry is a step toward a clean energy future for the state and region."

States are also investing in job training programs to provide workers with the skills needed to enter the green workforce. Maryland recently invested $750,000 of RGGI CO2 allowance proceeds to provide energy efficiency-related job training to more than 600 contractors at 13 community colleges across the state. The Home Energy Retrofit and Weatherization Workforce Training Program, established in part by the state’s investment of RGGI proceeds, offers a "one-stop" training source for any energy retrofit career path in the state, including contractors working with local weatherization agencies and Maryland’s utility providers.

"We are training people every week to become home energy retrofit professionals," said Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration. "Construction workers can easily learn to install air-ducts, insulate homes and improve overall home energy efficiency."

Similarly, New York State is investing RGGI proceeds to train hundreds of workers needed to improve the efficiency of homes and businesses to meet the state's aggressive energy efficiency targets. As part of its $112 million investment in building sector energy efficiency improvements and job training the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will partner with constituency-based organizations, community colleges, unions and other groups to build and expand training and certification programs for emerging workers, building remodelers, HVAC technicians, energy auditors and engineers.

“The RGGI states are investing these proceeds to help reduce energy costs today while building a clean energy economy for the future," said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and chief executive officer of NYSERDA. "These funds will help develop the next generation of energy solutions that will create jobs and opportunities and benefit New York’s environment for years to come."