Bipartisan Group of RGGI States Propose Reducing Cap Additional 30 Percent by 2030
Strengthening of RGGI Fulfills Governor Cuomo’s 2017 State of the State Commitment
New York Has Generated More Than $1 Billion in RGGI Proceeds that Support Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy and Emission Reduction Programs to Date
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York, and the eight other states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, are proposing to update the multi-state effort to lower carbon pollution by reducing the cap on power plant emissions an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. This fulfills the Governor’s January State of the State challenge to the RGGI states to further strengthen the RGGI program, which yields environmental, health, and economic benefits. With this program update, the regional cap in 2030 will be 65 percent below the 2009 starting level.
“New York leads the nation’s efforts in strengthening climate security, and through the RGGI program and this latest bipartisan proposal to reduce emissions even further, the investment of proceeds will continue to support and create thousands of jobs and reduce electricity bills for residents,” Governor Cuomo said. “RGGI’s success exemplifies New York’s commitment to protecting the people of this state by showing the world that we will cut pollution and improve health, while transforming our economy into one that is cleaner, greener, stronger, and more sustainable than ever before.”
New York, along with nine other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States in the RGGI, which first formed in 2005, are part of the nation’s first program to use an innovative market-based mechanism to cap and cost-effectively reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change. A bipartisan group that includes New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the electric power sector.
RGGI contributed to a nearly 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from affected power plants in New York, and a 90 percent reduction in coal-fired power generation in the state. To date, New York has generated more than $1 billion in RGGI proceeds, which help fund energy efficiency, clean energy and emission reduction programs.
In 2013, Governor Cuomo led the RGGI states in reducing the emission cap 50 percent by 2020. RGGI continues to exceed expectations and has provided more than $2 billion in regional economic benefits and $5.7 billion in public health benefits while reducing emissions in excess of the declining cap’s requirements.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has been an incredible success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change in New York and the Northeast, while supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investments in sustainable development projects. In the absence of federal leadership on climate change, the RGGI proposal will lower the emissions cap even further and set the precedent for recognizing and taking action against climate change to support the future of communities around the globe.”
Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York Richard Kauffman said, “Governor Cuomo’s leadership on RGGI shows how smart, bipartisan policy beats rhetoric every time. Today’s RGGI proposal, working in concert with the Governor’s REV policy and Clean Energy Standard, sends the message to the nation that climate change is real and the future is clean and renewable energy.”
Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes said, “The proposed RGGI changes constitute another significant step to reduce carbon emissions. Under Governor Cuomo, New York has already established nation-leading carbon and renewable energy goals in its Clean Energy Standard. Now, this multi-state and bi-partisan initiative moves us forward as a region.”
New York State Energy and Research Development Authority President and CEO Alicia Barton said, “This RGGI proposal demonstrates that states are taking matters into their own hands in the fight on climate change. Moving to a cleaner energy system can no longer be a nice thing to do, it is a must. By working together across state lines to reduce harmful emissions and spur growth in the clean energy economy, the RGGI states are ensuring we all win with a cleaner environment and more prosperous communities.”
New York State Climate Leadership and Clean Energy Standard
In June, Governor Cuomo founded the US Climate Alliance with the Governors of California and Washington State to ensure that the emissions reduction targets of Paris Agreement on climate change would be upheld at the state-level. Since June, the US Climate Alliance has grown to encompass 14 states, representing around 40 percent of US GDP. New York State stands ready to work with all other states, including those participating in the US Climate Alliance, to take any necessary additional steps to ensure emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement continue to be met.
New York is actively encouraging clean energy innovation through its Reforming the Energy Vision strategy and initiatives. Additionally, programs including the Clean Energy Fund, $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, $1 billion NY Green Bank, $40 million NY-Prize competition for community microgrids, and others, ensure that progress toward reducing emissions will be accelerated.
RGGI Health Benefits
Recent analyses also show that RGGI has produced numerous health and productivity benefits for participating member states, including up to 16,000 avoided respiratory illnesses, up to 390 avoided heart attacks, and 300 to 830 avoided deaths. The health benefits in New York alone are estimated to have exceeded $1.7 billion in avoided costs and other economic benefits.
The economies of RGGI states are outpacing the rest of the country, and electricity prices within the region have fallen, even as prices in other states have increased. This includes reducing carbon emissions by 16 percent more than other states and experiencing 3.6 percent more in economic growth. Each of the three-year control periods contributed approximately 4,500 job years to the New York state economy and 14,000 to 16,000 job years region-wide.
New York consumers who have participated in RGGI-supported projects through December 2016 will realize $3.7 billion in cumulative energy bill savings over the lifetime of the projects, according to NYSERDA.