The RGGI Program is a central component of Maryland's GHG reduction strategy. As the first program of its kind in the United States, RGGI serves as a model and inspiration to other states and regions to either participate in RGGI or implement their own regional CO2 trading initiatives.
RGGI is a cooperative effort by ten northeast and mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions generated by fossil fuel-fired power plants while benefiting the regional economy. Guiding the program are the shared commitments to reducing CO2 and allowing flexibility and autonomy among the states. Maryland has participated in RGGI since 2007. Other states currently participating are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
RGGI is structured as a "cap and invest" program, with a regional cap or limit on CO2 emissions that declines by a certain amount annually. The states establish individual emission budgets, which they distribute as "allowances" permitting the holder to emit one short ton (2,000 lbs.) of CO2 per allowance. The regional cap consists of the sum of the states' emission budgets. Each state participating in the regional initiative has developed its own program and regulations based on the blueprint provided by the RGGI Model Rule. States sell a majority of emission allowances at regional quarterly auctions, and auction proceeds fund various state and local programs which promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, bill assistance, or other consumer benefits.
Last year, the participating states reached consensus on a series of improvements to the program. The Model Rule contains four major improvements:
Upcoming stakeholder meetings dates are posted to the RGGI website.
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