By Mark Lagerkvist — A final curtain fell this week on New Jersey's role in the ongoing CO2 cap-and-trade opera known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
In New Jersey’s swan song, RGGI sold nearly $52 million worth of carbon allowances at its December auction. The state is pulling out of the nation’s only mandatory cap-and-trade program at the end of the year, as sung by Gov. Chris Christie.
Nine other states plan to continue the nation’s only mandatory cap-and-trade program. They are New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland.
RGGI sold $952 million in permits in its first three years. In participating states, utilities are required to obtain an allowance for each ton of CO-2 released by their electric generators. The cost is ultimately passed along to businesses and consumers in the form of higher rates for electricity.
New Jersey received $113 million in revenues from RGGI, including $6 million from the December auction.
Demand for allowances increased as RGGI sold 63 percent of the available permits. However, for the second straight auction, RGGI failed to sell any of the future allowance permits for 2012 to 2014 – which reflects both a glut in the carbon market and a lack of confidence in the program's future.
Follow these links to previous New Jersey Watchdog reports on RGGI: