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RGGI Prices Climb As States Institute Tighter Carbon Cap

RGGI Inc
/
NHPR

The  price power plants will pay to emit a ton of carbon reached a new high in the latest Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction.

This quarter, it cost $4 to buy the right to emit a ton of carbon dioxide; previously, the highest price was $3.51, set in 2009.

In total New England power plant operators spent nearly $94 million to comply with  RGGI, funds which most states reinvest into energy efficiency programs.

The rising price is the result of a lower cap on carbon dioxide that the New England States enacted last year, and which took effect this auction.

After an economic recession, a historic switch to natural gas for electric generation, and ramped up spending on efficiency, New England was way ahead of its emissions target.

In response RGGI states ratcheted down the carbon cap by 45%.

Reaching the $4 dollar mark triggered the release of 5 million additional carbon allowances for sale, helping to keep the price from spiking too high.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.
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