96% of plants in RGGI states meet compliance obligations

The nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on June 2 released the Compliance Summary Report for RGGI’s second three-year control period.

The report finds that 161 of the 167 power plants subject to RGGI requirements, or 96%, have met their compliance obligations. The second RGGI control period began on Jan. 1, 2012, and ended Dec. 31, 2014. 

Fossil-fueled power plants greater than 25MW are required to purchase and hold one carbon dioxide (CO2) allowance for each short ton of CO2 emitted during the three-year control period.

The number of allowances held in each compliance entity’s RGGI CO2 Allowance Tracking System (RGGI COATS) account is matched with its emissions over this period, and then submitted to the states for compliance evaluation.

Average CO2 emissions for RGGI’s second control period were 88 million short tons, representing a more than 40% decline in RGGI power sector emissions since 2005.

This year the RGGI states also implemented interim control period compliance requirements. For the first two years of each three-year control period, a RGGI power plant will need to hold allowances equal to 50% of its annual emissions. 

At the end of the three-year control period, a RGGI power plant will need to hold allowances equal to 100% of its total emissions.

“Power plants in the RGGI region have set an impressive example for the nation—reducing carbon pollution while supporting grid reliability and resiliency,” said RGGI Chair Katie Dykes, who is the Deputy Commissioner for Energy at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “These results highlight the strength of market-based programs in achieving cost-effective pollution reduction,” Dykes said.

The states participating in the second RGGI control period (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have implemented the first mandatory market-based regulatory program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has hailed RGGI as a model for regional CO2 trading and a blueprint for regional cooperation under the proposed Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan, proposed in June 2014, would have states draft plans to cut power sector CO2 emissions 30% by 2030.

The Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) have recently published a document designed to assist states interested in pursuing regional compliance with the Clean Power Plan.

A link to the RGGI CO2 allowance trading system can be found here: https://rggi-coats.org/eats/rggi/index.cfm?fuseaction=reportsv2.compliance_summary_rpt&clearfuseattribs=true.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.