delware environmental institute

News Journal: Cap/trade program's auction nets more money for Delaware

A regional cap-and-trade program raised more money than expected in its most recent auction, meaning more money for state energy efficiency programs. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a nine-state program designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fund programs that promote energy efficiency and renewable power and lower electric bills. In its June 5 quarterly auction, it raised $124.5 million, a record amount for a three-month period. It was the first time since 2010 that all of the allowances were sold in two consecutive quarters.

Under the program, power plants and other polluters have limits on how much carbon dioxide they may emit. Their owners can buy allowances to go over that limit. The program was seen as a model for a national cap-and-trade program, but Congress did not pass one.

As power producers make their plans for the next several years, they are trying to ensure they have enough emission permits to meet their projected needs. Companies buy permits to match what they they think they’ll need, based on their expectations of future auctions, said Collin O’Mara, state natural resources secretary. He is also chairman of RGGI.