Project Series

Rigorous, data-driven, science-based projects produced by independent experts, this Series provides the highest quality objective analysis of the performance and potential of the RGGI trading system.

 
 

Image credit: ISO New England dispatch control board.

RGGI-Heros_Reports.jpg

The Series has produced a wide variety of expert reports, documentary videos, web-based information toolkits, and workshops & webcasts.  These projects are intended to inform and improve understanding of critical climate & clean energy issues facing the states today.   

Report Series: The Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States  

BY ANALYSIS GROUP  |  2015-2017, 2012-2014, 2009-2011

In a series of reports covering the lifetime of RGGI, the Analysis Group, an independent research group, uses real time historical data to assess the economic impacts of the trading system. In this process, they address these critical questions:

  • How has the RGGI program affected electricity markets, power producers’ costs, electricity prices, and consumers’ electricity bills?

  • What happened to the roughly $XX billion in proceeds collected over these three periods (2009-2011, 2012-2014, 2015-2017) from the sale of CO2 allowances?

  • Has the program continued to produce net economic benefits to these states, or otherwise helped them pursue their goals for reliable electric supply and CO2-emissions reductions?

  • What has been learned to date?

The unprecedented reports rigorously track the path of RGGI-related dollars as they leave the pockets of competitive-power generators who buy CO2 allowances to demonstrate compliance, show up in electricity prices and customer bills, make their way into state accounts, and then roll out into the economy through various pathways.

 

Back to top

2015-2017 REPORT

The third in-depth comprehensive analysis on RGGI’s economic performance, this report finds – once again – a consistent trend of positive net economic value.  The Analysis Group tracks the most recent three-year compliance period (2015-2017), and examines the empirical economic data. 

KEY FINDINGS

  • RGGI states reaped $1.4 billion in net economic value from the Program’s implementation in 2015 through 2017.

  • Over the same time period, RGGI is credited with creating over 14,500 new job-years (the equivalent of one full-time job for the duration of one year).

  • All of the participating RGGI states experienced benefits, including employment growth and net economic benefits for electricity consumers, with those dollars flowing back into the local economy.

 

2012-2014 REPORT

The second in a series of economic analyses by the Analysis Group, this report examines the impacts of RGGI for the period 2012-2014, the second compliance period, and finds that the multi-state, market-based approach to cutting carbon emissions provides economic benefits and valuable lessons to other states as they evaluate their options for cutting carbon.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Added $1.3 billion in economic value to the nine-state RGGI region.

  • Will lead to more than 14,000 new jobs.

  • Reduced electricity and heating bills, saving consumers $460 million.

  • Provided each individual state economic benefits as the region cuts annual carbon emissions by more than a third from 2008 (133 million tons) to 2014 (86 million tons).

  • Reduced dollars flowing out of state to pay for fossil fuels imported from outside the region by more than $1.27 billion.

 

2009-2011 REPORT

While prior analyses were based on projections of RGGI performance, this report provides the first comprehensive analysis of actual RGGI performance based on real data. It found that RGGI generates greater economic growth in every one of the 10 RGGI states than would occur without a carbon price. Given that the purpose of RGGI is to reduce carbon, not generate economic growth, this analysis received widespread media coverage and had a dramatic impact on public understanding of the trading system, not just among RGGI stakeholders and policymakers, but also in states weighing the risks and benefits of a price on carbon. 

KEY FINDINGS

  • $1.6 billion in growth

  • $912 million in allowance proceeds

  • $1.3 billion in energy savings to consumers

  • Power plant owners lose $1.6 billion in revenue

  • $765 million kept in local economy

  • 16,000 net jobs created

Blue tile Main bkue.jpg

Expanding the Toolkit: The Potential Role for an Emissions Containment Reserve in RGGI

BY RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE | AUGUST 2017

As RGGI states began their second program review, they grappled with ongoing frequent low allowance prices, and debated design adjustments to improve trading program efficiency and effectiveness. The RGGI Project Series recognized a critical gap in research and commissioned independent modeling analysis of an innovative mechanism – the Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) – that incorporates a minimum price for specified quantities of allowances under the cap and thereby introduces graduated steps into the allowance supply function.

Conducted by the expert research group Resources for the Future, this in-depth technical analysis uses simulation modeling, economic experiments and expert market testing to explore the implications of introducing an ECR and varying its design parameters. 

The new Model Rule includes the first ECR for a carbon-trading program.

Cyan tile-5.jpg

RGGI and Emission Allowance Trading Summer 2017 Update: Options for Voluntary Cooperation among RGGI and non-RGGI states

BY ANALYSIS GROUP | July 12, 2017

Over the past nine years, the RGGI states have successfully operated a voluntary program for limiting CO2 emissions through mass-based allowance trading. Now, the nine states involved in the program are considering opening the door to expanded trading opportunities for power plants located both inside and outside the RGGI states.

In an update to the Analysis Group’s 2016 report on the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) trading program, Paul J. Hibbard and Ellery Berk identify principles and objectives for program design changes that RGGI states might incorporate to enable broader trading. 

A Pioneering Approach to Carbon Markets

BY M.J. BRADLEY & ASSOCIATES | FEBRUARY 2017

This comprehensive historical narrative, captured in the report and told in the companion video, tells the compelling story behind the genesis of RGGI. George Pataki, a Republican, as Governor of New York, reached out to fellow Governors, across the aisle and the region, to envision a market-based way to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. Leading experts and RGGI state officials provide a window into that exciting moment in time: the demands and decisions, perils and possibilities. One decision proved fateful and all important to RGGI’s success: auctioning allowances rather than giving them away for free. 

Blue tile Main bkue.jpg

Analysis of the Public Health Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, 2009–2014

ABT ASSOCIATES | JANUARY 2017

Arguably the most comprehensive analysis of RGGI’s health impacts ever produced, this report addresses the much-debated issue of whether and how much carbon reduction affects air pollution. Using publicly available peer-reviewed air quality and public health models, along with historical data characterizing RGGI’s actual performance over six years (2009-2014), ABT Associates, independent health experts, addressed these critical questions:

  • Did RGGI result in measurable changes in emissions of criteria air pollutants and air quality? 
  • If so, how did changes in air quality resulting from RGGI affect public health and to what degree? 
  • What were the spatial and temporal patterns to changes in air quality and public health due to RGGI? 
  • Will health benefits continue to be replicated in the future?

KEY FINDINGS

  • RGGI improved air quality throughout the Northeast states and created major benefits to public health and productivity, including avoiding hundreds of premature deaths and tens of thousands of lost work days.
Cyan tile-5.jpg

Power Switch: The Future of the Electric Power System in the Northeast and the Disruptive Power of Innovation

BY M.J. BRADLEY & ASSOCIATES | OCTOBER 2016  

The Northeast states are at the vanguard of changes transforming the way electricity is produced and delivered in the U.S. The report, Power Switch, and its companion video, by M.J. Bradley & Associates, explores the trends reshaping the Northeast electric power markets, as well as future challenges and opportunities for states in the region.

Advancements in technology combined with low gas prices and policy changes have and will continue to create significant changes within the electric power markets. In New York and New England, for example, coal-fired generation has declined by more than 80% since 2005. The Northeast states have been successful in cutting carbon pollution from the electric sector while growing their economies. Now these states are eyeing economy wide reductions, requiring more policy innovation and clean energy investment. The future of the electric system will include more interconnected devices, more intermittent renewables, and a smarter, nimbler, more distributed grid.

In this report and companion video, M.J Bradley & Associates, a premiere expert research firm, captures the disruptive power of technology and policy innovation and lays out the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the Northeast states.

RGGI and CO2 Emissions Trading Under the Clean Power Plan

BY ANALYSIS GROUP | JULY 12, 2016

In 2016, when the nation was moving to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the RGGI Project Series recognized the need for analysis of the design features of the RGGI carbon-trading program, to facilitate choices for states including the option to engage in carbon trading on a national basis.

Today, this report is as relevant as it was in 2016. While the federal program has been stayed by the new Administration, states continue to implement their plans to reduce carbon emissions. 

This report, produced by the Analysis Group, identifies the core issues in emission-allowance trading for the RGGI program and how these can be adapted to trading w/ other states. The observations about an expanded state-to-state carbon trading market and lessons learned from the first-in-the-nation multi-state RGGI trading program continue to inform state action.

Blue tile Main bkue.jpg

Georgetown Climate Center’s State Energy Analysis Tool (SEA Tool)

BY GEORGETOWN CLIMATE CENTER  

With support from the RGGI Project Series, the Georgetown Climate Center developed this highly interactive online tool to provide policymakers, reporters and the public with critical information, insights and data visualization about each state’s electricity grid mix, renewable energy growth, economic impacts and carbon emission reductions.

A new feature includes comparative charts that plot each state’s gross domestic product along with carbon emissions, as well as new comprehensive data for each state on the transportation sector.  All data is sourced from publicly available independent or government entities.

Cyan tile-5.jpg

Linking by Degrees: Incremental Alignment of Cap-and-Trade Markets

BY RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE | APRIL 2013  

National and subnational economies have started implementing carbon-pricing systems unilaterally, from the bottom up. Linking these systems offers several potential benefits including enhancing cooperation among jurisdictions, enlarging the portfolio of options available for emissions reductions, and lowering overall costs.  

Linking by Degrees: Incremental Alignment of Cap-and-Trade Markets outlines a unique approach based on analysis that many of these benefits could be achieved through incremental alignment of climate policies across jurisdictions. In fact, such alignment might generally be a precondition for expanding the coordination that ultimately results in linking carbon markets.

Published in 2013 by Resources for the Future (RFF), this report has had broad and significant impact on carbon markets worldwide. Cited in 56 scholarly articles and reports, Linking by Degree articulates an approach to linking carbon-pricing programs that has been embedded in national and subnational agreements and carbon markets, including the Paris Accord.