The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort by Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change. Central to this initiative is the implementation of a multi-state cap-and-trade program with a market-based emissions trading system. The proposed program requires certain electric power generators in participating states to purchase allowances for their CO2 emissions. To support the state CO2 Budget Trading Programs, the RGGI participating states have implemented a regional auction platform to sell CO2 allowances.
Vermont Participation in RGGI
Vermont committed to participate in RGGI when then Governor Douglas signed the RGGI Memorandum of Understanding with the governors of the other participating states. The Vermont Legislature then enacted statutory provisions to implement the RGGI program in Vermont. The Public Utility Commission (Commission) has been tasked by statute, 30 V.S.A. § 255, to implement the auction provisions of the RGGI program. The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) is also tasked by statute to participate in the RGGI program.
Under 30 V.S.A. § 255, the Commission must establish a process to allocate the carbon credits that Vermont receives as part of its participation in the RGGI. The Commission is also authorized to appoint a Trustee or Trustees to "receive, hold, bank, and sell tradeable carbon credits created under this program."
Pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 255(d), Vermont's auction proceeds are deposited into the electric efficiency fund created under 30 V.S.A. § 209(d)(3). The state's Energy Efficiency Utilities combine the RGGI proceeds with other funding sources to offer a variety of services and incentives that result in improved building performance and heating system efficiency, thereby creating jobs, saving Vermonters money, and reducing Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions.
The current Commission Order implementing the RGGI auction procedures for Vermont is available through ePUC under case number 18-4145-INV. Visit the ePUC Information page for details about how to use it.