Each state directs its own strategy for investing RGGI proceeds in programs that benefit consumers and build a clean energy economy. Below are just a few examples of individuals, companies and cities that have benefited from energy efficiency, renewable energy and job training programs funded with RGGI proceeds.
True Energy Solutions (TES) is just one of 17 companies providing free or discounted energy audits to homeowners in Monroe County, New York. Free TES audits are made possible by Green Jobs-Green New York (GJGNY), which is funded by a five-year, $112 million investment of the state’s RGGI proceeds. Most homeowners who take advantage of the opportunity for a free audit reap financial benefits in the form of energy savings. Beneficiaries also enjoy warmer, more comfortable homes during the coldest months of the year, according to Damian Hodkinson, Owner of TES.
Thanks to two grants totaling $28,500 — $21,000, the residents of four St. Mary's public housing units on Lexwood Drive will save nearly 50% on their heating and cooling costs. Funding was provided as part of a $2 million RGGI-funded grant program aimed at boosting energy efficiency in Maryland. The Maryland Energy Administration expects the grants will help 1,400 state residents, saving them a total of $5.1 million in energy costs over the lifespan of the projects. "This is a very helpful amount of money and it has a direct impact on families who were paying a large amount of their monthly budget," said Dennis Nicholson, executive director of the housing authority.
After 80 years of constant use, the Town Hall in Athol, MA, had become an uncomfortable place for its 29 employees. All that changed when Athol received a $98,000 grant for new Energy Star-certified windows under Massachusetts’s Green Communities Program earlier this year. The grant, funded by RGGI, is enabling Athol to realize significant energy bill savings while improving working conditions for its employees.
Irving Forest Products in Dixfield, Maine and Moose River Lumber in Jackman, Maine are just two of 17 companies that received RGGI-funded grants from Efficiency Maine’s Large Projects Grant Program in 2010. Together, the sawmills are investing more than $1.5 million to enhance long-term viability through energy efficiency. The project will enable Irving Forest's Dixfield sawmill to produce 25 percent of its electricity on site, saving enough money to sustain 235 jobs. Moose River Lumber anticipates adding at least three jobs while retaining the 66 full-time and 5 part-time workers currently employed.
Cayuga Community College (CCC) recently received a RGGI-funded grant to install 126 solar panels on the gymnasium roof at its Auburn, N.Y. campus. As a result, the college will save approximately $3,600 in electricity costs each year. “People tend to think that Auburn is too far north to benefit from solar power,” said Kevin Drayer, director of buildings and grounds at CCC. “In recent years, though, renewable-energy technology has improved and costs have come down. And testing has shown that these units can withstand a four-season climate.”
GAC Chemical in Searsport is investing $314,000 in RGGI proceeds to complete a $630,000 full-facility energy retrofit. GAC is the largest industrial manufacturer in Waldo County, employing 60 people. The energy project will keep these jobs in Waldo County and make GAC more competitive with lower costs, according to Company President David Colter. “GAC competes in a national and international marketplace, and the purpose of this project is twofold: to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency, which in turn will strengthen our long-term stability,” said Colter. “Without the support of Efficiency Maine this project would not be possible.”
Madison Paper Industries, a Maine-based paper company with a staff or more than 240 based in Somerset County, is investing more than $1 million in RGGI proceeds to enhance its competitiveness through energy efficiency. As a result, the company is expected to save $2 million each year - enough to retain 18 jobs. “These savings will help secure the future of an established paper mill facing difficult economic pressures," said Joe Clark, Madison Paper’s Reliability Engineer. "Without the grant funds we would not have been able to pursue these projects in the current business climate."
The Cedar Lane Senior Living Community in Leonardtown is just one of approximately 100 grants that have been awarded through Maryland’s investment of RGGI proceeds. Last year, Cedar Lane invested $50,000 in RGGI proceeds to improve heating system efficiency in 51 apartments. As a result, residents are expected to save $47 for every $100 previously spent on heating and cooling costs.
Downtown Village of Patchogue has come alive thanks to major upgrades that were made to its wastewater treatment plant. Blighted properties are now gone. In their place are 175 market rate residential units, 125 affordable housing units and five new restaurants. Patchogue used $27,000 in RGGI proceeds to identify energy efficiency opportunities as part of a proposal to upgrade the treatment plant. The analysis made Patchogue eligible for $11.4 million in federal and state funds, which it received. With federal and state funds committed, downtown Patchogue attracted more than $100 million in private investments.
Carlson Orchards, one of the largest orchards in Massachusetts, is investing $595,000 in RGGI proceeds to install 1,050 solar photovoltaic panels on its property. The $1.1 million 220 KW solar power plant will supply 80% of the farm's energy, leading to significant energy bill savings. Only 20% of the farm’s needs is now supplied from the grid.
Chick’s Drive-In, a landmark restaurant in West Haven, Connecticut, was just one of nearly 1,900 small businesses to benefit from Connecticut’s Small Business Energy Advantage Program (SBEA) in 2010. Through SBEA, which is partially funded by RGGI, the restaurant installed more efficient lighting and refrigeration equipment. As a result, the owner is now saving hundreds of dollars on his electricity bill each month. The eatery will save 468,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity—the equivalent of planting 56 acres of trees or saving more than 17,000 gallons of gas—over the lifetime of the new equipment.
Bishop Orchards Farm market, a family-run market in Guilford, Connecticut, is just one business to realize energy savings with help from Connecticut’s Small Business Energy Advantage Program (SBEA). SBEA, which is funded in part by RGGI, provided the market with a complete interior lighting upgrade, as well as incentives for large-scale efficiency measures, including the installation of night covers for open coolers and efficient motors for refrigerated units."SBEA has given us the tools to reduce our energy use, save resources and keep our costs stable,” said Keith Bishop, the market’s President and CEO. “We would not have been able to do this large project without the financial incentives from the SBEA program.”