Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)  is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector.

RGGI is gradually growing. In January 2018, the Governor of New Jersey signed an Executive Order requiring the state to rejoin RGGI after withdrawing in 2012. Pennsylvania joined in 2019. It was an important event in that Pennsylvania is a major fossil fuel producer and the fourth largest carbon emitter following Texas, California and Florida (2016 data). Virginia joined in 2020 after a five year legislative battle.

A 2019 study by the Acadia Center reviewed the progress of RGGI since its inception in 2009. The study showed that carbon emissions from power plants in the RGGI states fell by 47%, which is 90% greater than the rest of the U.S.. Meanwhile economic growth in the RGGI states was 31% greater than the rest of the country. How much of the emissions reductions was actually due to the cap has been argued.  However a 2015 study by Duke Nicholas Institute found that about half of the regions emissions reductions up to that date could be credited to RGGI.

Each participating state develops its own plan for investing revenues, but overall proceeds are allocated as follows:

  • 52 percent to improve energy efficiency
  • 11 percent to accelerate deployment of renewable energy technologies
  • 14 percent to provide energy bill payment assistance, including assistance to low-income ratepayers
  • 1 percent for a wide variety of greenhouse gas reduction programs, including programs to promote the development of carbon emission abatement technologies, efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled, and programs to increase carbon sequestration

Last updated September 14, 2020