At the regional level, states are investing more than half of total CO2 allowance proceeds in energy efficiency programs, including programs to weatherize homes, to provide rebates for energy-efficient appliances, and to provide grants for large-scale efficiency projects in commercial and industrial facilities.
These investments provide triple benefits: to the environment, to consumers, and to the economy. Specifically, these programs:
Reduce CO2 Emissions & Improve Air Quality
By reducing the amount of energy demanded from fossil fuels, investments in energy efficiency reduce emissions of CO2 and other harmful pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).
Investments outside the capped electricity sector (such as programs to improve the efficiency of oil and natural gas space heating) drive further emissions reductions - beyond those achieved through the RGGI CO2 emissions cap.
Give Consumers Control over Their Energy Use & Costs
At the household and business level, energy efficiency investments reduce the amount of energy needed for air conditioning, water heating, and appliances, typically reducing energy bills by 15 to 30 percent.
On a regional level, investments in electricity sector energy efficiency drive down overall electricity demand, improving electricity system reliability and reducing wholesale electricity prices. Improved efficiency also reduces the need for investment in new electricity generation facilities and transmission and distribution systems.
Create Jobs for Contractors, Architects and Engineers
Investments in energy efficiency drive demand for new products and services, creating jobs. Data from the Apollo Alliance shows that every $1 million invested in building-sector energy efficiency retrofits creates about ten direct jobs in construction, as well as additional jobs in the design and manufacture of energy-efficient materials.
Generate Significant Economic Benefits for the Region
Energy efficiency investments generate economy-wide benefits, including: cheaper wholesale power, fewer blackouts, safer buildings, and more jobs. Several RGGI states are finding $3-$4 in benefits for every $1 invested in energy efficiency.