In the three years since the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has been in place, an independent economic-consulting firm claims it has been worth more than $1.6 billion, or nearly $33 per person, to the 10 participating states, including Rhode Island.
“It’s the first market-based program to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants in the U.S. that we think is important because even though it’s 10 states, those … states represent one-sixth of the U.S. GDP and one-sixth of the U.S. population,” said Paul Hibbard, vice president of Boston-based Analysis Group, an economics and strategies consulting firm.
The 10 states participating are: Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. (New Jersey plans to pull out of the program at the end of the year.)
Rhode Island has received $14.3 million; about $744,000 of that was spent on program administration and about $300,000 was spent on education outreach and job training.
“One of the ways they are using the money is the R.I. Office of Energy Resources is funding a program that provides energy education to low-income ratepayers in the state and it’s to help figure out how to save money on their energy bills,” Hibbard said.
But the vast majority, $13.2 million, was spent on energy-efficiency programs for property owners, he said.
The state-by-state breakdown was released Nov. 14. by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in a report titled: “The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States.” The report claimed investments to date from the 10 states will create the following: The regional economy of the combined states gains more than $1.6 billion in economic value and an estimated 16,000 jobs.