---- — To the editor:
For over five years now, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has demonstrated that a market-based approach to limiting lower carbon dioxide emissions in the electricity generating sector can make significant environmental progress while benefiting our economy. In fact, an independent report by the Analysis Group found that the investment of RGGI proceeds from the first three years puts $1.1 billion in electricity bill savings back into the pockets of consumers in the RGGI region and keeps $765 million in the local economy due to reduced fossil fuel demand.
In 2008, New Hampshire joined the RGGI to lower carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants. These emissions pollute our air and are a key component of the climate changes we have been witnessing lately. To accomplish this goal, RGGI allows electricity producers to purchase allowances to exceed agreed upon limits in a multi-state allowance market. Each state then uses the proceeds from the sale of allowances to invest in energy efficiency programs and offer customer rebates.
After its 2012 review, the RGGI states, including nine states in New England and the Northeast, are proposing to reduce the regional emissions limit to better reflect the current level of regional emissions. This proposal, HB 306 as amended, was approved by the New Hampshire House last week. Derry’s Rep. Mary Till joined the majority vote, 190 to 156. The bill is now in the Senate.
Emissions since the RGGI’s inception have decreased due to several factors. State investments in energy efficiency have reduced electricity demand and the need for new transmission and generation in the region, saving rate payers increased energy prices. Due to lower natural gas prices, electricity producers have invested in gas power plants (with much lower emissions) to supplant generation from coal in the region. The lower energy costs from using natural gas have opened the door to other energy suppliers to move into the New Hampshire market and compete head-to-head with PSNH.
According to the Department of Environmental Services, the proposed decrease in the emissions limits envisioned in HB 306 will lead to about a 3-percent reduction in typical residential electric bills. It also means that towns like Derry will see their energy bills decrease, which is good for taxpayers.
Thank you, Rep. Till, for voting in favor of New Hampshire’s environment and economy.