Overall, the RGGI States are investing more than 10 percent of total CO2 allowance proceeds in renewable energy programs, including initiatives to deploy solar, wind and geothermal energy systems in homes, businesses and industrial facilities.
These investments build a clean energy infrastructure for the future, and provide a number of consumer and economic benefits. Specifically, these programs:
Reduce CO2 Emissions & Improve Air Quality
Increasing the use of renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and geothermal, reduces dependence on fossil fuels, generating long-term reductions in CO2 emissions, as well as emissions of other harmful pollutants, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).
Create High-Paying Jobs for Contractors and Facility Operators
Investments in renewable energy drive demand for new products and services, creating jobs. Data from the Renewable Energy Policy Project shows that every $1million invested in renewable energy systems creates about six full-time manufacturing jobs, as well as additional jobs in construction and facility maintenance. According to 2008 data collected in New York State, the average annual salary for jobs created at renewable energy facilities is about $75,000.
Reduce the Demand for Conventional Electricity, Lowering Wholesale Electricity Prices
By generating electricity at the point of use, on-site renewable energy generation systems reduce peak energy demand, driving down wholesale prices. The same installations often produce surplus renewable power that consumers can then sell back to the grid for a profit.
Generate Significant Economic Benefits for the Region
Renewable energy investments generate economy-wide benefits, including: cheaper wholesale power, fewer blackouts, and more jobs. New York's renewable energy program experience shows $3-4 in benefits for every $1 invested.