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Greenhouse gas auction revenues can help cut Md. electric use significantly, says study
Date:10/22/2008

COLLEGE PARK, Md. Maryland officials can reduce electricity use in the state significantly by investing revenues from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade auctions in energy efficiency programs, says a new study from a University of Maryland-led research team. It adds that neighboring states might benefit as well.

Investments might range from direct subsidies helping consumers or businesses buy more energy-efficient appliances to technical assistance retrofitting buildings to public awareness campaigns, though the study does not recommend any specific approach.

Members of the 10-state RGGI group, including Maryland, recently conducted the nation's first carbon emissions auction, raising nearly $40 million in revenues. State officials have begun making plans for allocating that money, with the largest portion to be devoted to efforts to increase energy efficiency. http://www.mde.state.md.us/assets/document/EnviroMatters100208.pdf

The new study concludes that:

  • Investing a greater share of auction revenues in programs designed to encourage more efficient consumer and commercial use of electricity will produce significantly greater benefits, keeping the state on track to meet its energy-use reduction targets.
  • Even though prices may not go down, consumers may see some modest savings because they consume less electricity due to efficiency improvements
  • The overall economic impact on the state of these investments will be positive.

The University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER) produced the study along with a research team from Resources for the Future, The Johns Hopkins University, and Towson University.

"Our findings suggest that state decision makers are heading in the right direction," says University of Maryland public policy professor
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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert

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