New Hampshire and RGGI: A Good Investment
The New Hampshire House will soon be voting on a bill to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas
Initiative (RGGI). We call on all of you to appreciate the benefits this program brings to our state
and to contact your legislators asking them to vote against repeal.
When Governor Lynch signed onto RGGI with nine other governors, it fell to the NH legislature
in 2008 to approve our state’s participation. After months of holding stakeholder meetings and
listening to economic and environmental experts, the legislature voted to have NH join this
RGGI is a market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a major cause
of environmental and health issues. RGGI sets a cap for the region’s carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions from fossil fuelfired electric power generators, and each of the now nine participating
states is allocated a decreasing share of CO2 allowances for a three-year period.
RGGI Dollars and Sense
With the cap set, the free market goes to work, making emissions reductions at the least cost.
Quarterly auctions are held for regional emitters to buy and sell their allowances. Currently
portions of NH proceeds from the auctions are, by statute, given back to the ratepayer and,
through the core electric distribution companies, channeled to assist low- income consumers with
energy-efficiency projects. Municipalities can also receive funds for energy-efficiency projects,
which ultimately help to lower property taxes through cost savings on an ongoing basis.
By making our buildings more energy efficient, we lower energy demand, thereby reducing the
electric load our state needs and, most importantly, lowering emissions.
One of the most compelling reasons for New Hampshire to remain in RGGI with eight other
member states is financial. By staying in RGGI and participating in the auctions, NH will be able
to continue its efforts toward “tightening the envelopes” of older homes and buildings, resulting
in less energy demand and thereby avoiding the construction costs of new power plants. NH
ratepayers win with RGGI at a direct cost of 24¢ per month to the average consumer with a
return of much greater benefits both immediately and in the future.
If we bow out of the program, we lose that opportunity to receive energy-efficiency funding from
the auctions but NH ratepayers will still pay the price of higher energy needs, at the same time
that the other regional state members in the initiative enjoy the benefits of RGGI, which includes
the jobs and business associated with energy-efficiency activities.
Representative Suzanne Harvey (D-Nashua) and Representative Naida Kaen (D-Lee)