Josiah Bartlett Center releases report as key Committee approves repeal
The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, New Hampshire’s free-market think tank, published an in-depth report on New Hampshire's particaption in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as the House Science Committee votes to repeal the program. The report, authored by Lead Investigator Grant Bosse, finds that the country's deep and lasting recession has cut demand for electricity and greenhouse gas emissions far more than RGGI. He also writes that nearly half of the programs' revenues have gone to private sector businesses, creating a ratepayer subsidy for politically-preferred firms.
"But RGGI veers far from this market-based approach in how it allocates cap-and-trade auction revenues. The collapse of the secondary market means that almost all RGGI costs will be borne by utilities, and passed along to ratepayers. In New Hampshire, the PUC has doled out nearly half of RGGI grants to private businesses who have no obligation to repay the money. A multi-billion dollar university like Dartmouth College and an international conglomerate like Stonyfield parent company Group Danone could surely afford to pay for their own energy efficiency upgrades, or at the very least pay back ratepayers out of their lower electric bills."
New Hampshire has received more than $28 million in RGGI auction revenues since December of 2008, but has already committed more than $35 million to energy-efficiency programs and to balance the state budget. Bosse projects that New Hampshire may have trouble selling off its remaining carbon credits this year.
"At Auction 9, only 75% of the available allowances were sold. At Auction 10, just 57% cleared at the Reserve Price. The next auction, scheduled for March 9, 2011 will see nearly 42 million allowances up for sale. Unless bidders come forward to purchase most or all of these allowances, New Hampshire and its partner states may not be able to count on finding willing buyers for their unsold allowances."
Meanwhile, the House Science Committee has approved a bill that would repeal RGGI in New Hampshire. Bosse files a story at New Hampshire Watchdog on the key vote.