Last week marked the 17th Auction in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The number of bidders who went through the process of qualifying to participate in the auction is the lowest it has been in the program’s history — 29, down from 35 from the last auction in June, and well below the high of 84 in the first auction involving all member states, held in December 2008. Only 24.5 million allowances (65%) of the nearly 38 million offered for sale by the now-9-state organization (sans New Jersey) sold at the floor price of $1.93 per allowance, and all of the allowances were bought by entities regulated by the carbon dioxide-capping program.
However, the money is still good. Cumulative proceeds from the 17 auctions total well over a billion dollars in revenues, and last week’s auction, despite the waning lack of interest and participation, brought in over $47 million to fund the member-states’ renewable energy, energy efficiency and consumer benefit programs.
RGGI is still undergoing a comprehensive program review, focusing on successes, impacts, imports and emissions leakage, offsets, and areas for additional reductions. According to the RGGI website, any legislative or rule-making processes that need to occur to implement the changes to RGGI will begin to be implemented this fall, with changes to be effective for the second control period (i.e. backdated to include all of 2012, through 2014). Over the summer, stakeholders and the RGGI states have been developing electricity sector integrated planning modeling to allow them to model impacts of program changes. The next big step, which may result in the announcement of significant policy changes, is a stakeholder meeting to be held in November.