Massachusetts & RGGI: In January 2007, Massachusetts joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort by Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from large fossil-fueled power plants.
RGGI is the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Together, these states have capped and will reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector 10 percent by 2018.
Program Review: On December 6, 2013, DOER finalized amendments to 225 CMR 13.00, DOER CO2 Budget Trading Program Auction Regulation. The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) concurrently amended its regulation 310 CMR 7.70, the Massachusetts CO2 Budget Trading Program. These amendments implement the changes announced by Governor Patrick on February 7, 2013, to revise the RGGI program by reducing the regional cap to 91 million tons per year, and implementing programmatic changes, including the auction process, consistent with a model rule developed by the nine RGGI states. The amendments include:
- Lowering the MA base budget by 40% for the years 2014-2020,
- Further adjustments to MA base budget for 2014-2020 to account for allowances already held by regulated facilities and private entities,
- A Cost Containment Reserve to mitigate price spikes by providing a limited quantity of allowances in addition to the cap if certain price thresholds are exceeded,
- Updates to the RGGI offsets program, including a new forestry protocol,
- Interim Compliance Periods to require partial compliance in the first two years of each three year control period,
- Administrative updates including documents incorporated by reference.
The overall changes to the RGGI program will cause real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the economic proceeds will be invested in programs to promote energy efficiency, conservation and demand response.
The changes were developed through a regional stakeholder process, coordinated through RGGI, Inc. RGGI, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation established by the RGGI participating states to support the development and implementation of the RGGI program. The RGGI program review was a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation, supported by an extensive stakeholder process that engaged the regulated community (including 28 large, fossil-fueled power plants in Massachusetts), environmental, consumer and industry advocates, and other interested stakeholders.
RGGI Auction Proceeds:
Based on the Green Communities Act of 2008, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has directed the vast majority of the Commonwealth’s RGGI proceeds into the state’s nation-leading energy efficiency programs delivered statewide by the state’s utilities and energy efficiency service providers through Mass Save®, and the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program for cities and towns. These programs and initiatives are fueling a cleaner energy future for the Commonwealth.
Massachusetts has received more than $252 million since 2008.