RGGI Auction Yields Maine $769k to Invest in Energy-Efficiency, Renewable Energy

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment toward energy efficiency efforts in Maine has been sparked by this week’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction.

Maine yielded $769,092 of the $25.5 million in investment created by the proceeds from the 10-state cap-and-trade collaborative’s 12th auction of carbon credits. That money will be managed by the Efficiency Maine Trust to fund programs to improve energy efficiency, accelerate the deployment of renewable energy technologies, and provide direct assistance to energy consumers.

Some 30 percent of the carbon allowances available in the auction were sold, going to the 25 winning entities whose bids ranging from $1.89 to $7.40 per ton. Electric generators and their corporate affiliates purchased 91 percent of the current control period allowances sold.

RGGI affects only fossil fuel-fired electricity generating units having a rated capacity equal to or greater than 25 megawatts. There are six facilities in Maine mandated to purchase carbon credits through RGGI to offset their emissions, though other entities/individuals can choose to purchase credits, either as an investment or because of a desire to do environmental good or as part of a corporate environmental policy.

Since RGGI’s start, Maine has hauled in $26.8 million of the $886.4 million total, the majority of which is invested to save energy consumers money, create jobs and make businesses more competitive.

“We’re so pleased with how the monies in Maine are strategically spent to create a cleaner future by reducing harmful emissions while at the same time, ensuring the jobs of today are being retained and the ones of tomorrow are being created,” said Maine Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Comissioner Pattie Aho, who represents the state on the RGGI Board of Directors. “RGGI continues to be paying off for both Maine’s environment and our economy.”

In Maine, RGGI proceeds are being invested to implement large-scale energy efficiency projects in commercial and industrial facilities. Sappi Fine Paper’s Somerset Mill in Skowhegan is just one of 17 companies that have received RGGI-funded grants from Efficiency Maine’s Large Projects Grant Program. As a result of the project, the mill is expected to save enough electricity annually to power 300 typical Maine households for a full year.

In Searsport, the GAC Chemical Corporation has received more than $300,000 to improve energy efficiencies at their manufacturing facility, resulting in employee retention and future growth thanks to the cost savings the comes from the new technology.

“The RGGI states have put a price on carbon to foster innovation in our region,” said David Littell, a commissioner of the Maine Public Utilities Commission and chair of the RGGI Board of Directors. “The RGGI auctions are continuing to drive large-scale investments in energy bill savings and improved business competitiveness.”

The next RGGI auction is scheduled for September 7.