The draft budget presented by the state legislature’s Finance Committee has cut funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a nine-state effort that has been effectively reducing dependence on fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency since 2009.
Through RGGI, the state sets a cap on carbon emissions from power plants, with plants purchasing emission allowances at a quarterly auction. Proceeds are reinvested in energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy. The proposed cuts would also effectively sweep funding for our first-in-the-nation Green Bank, which has served as a model for other states seeking to leverage private investment in clean energy.
“Raiding funds dedicated to energy efficiency, including RGGI, comes at a huge cost to the people, businesses, and environment of Connecticut — not just now, but for years to come,” said Shannon Laun, energy and environment attorney at CFE. “Thousands of clean energy jobs are threatened. Business competitiveness for the state is threatened. The reliability of the electric grid, which has come to depend on efficiency measures and renewables, is threatened. Connecticut’s standing as a climate leader is threatened. Any cuts to energy funds, including RGGI, must be stopped. In our difficult fiscal climate, saving money is more important than ever — and clean energy and energy efficiency do just that, while saving our environment at the same time.”
Connecticut Fund for the Environment