New Jersey said Friday it will invest an estimated $80 million each year in funds it receives from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive projects that boost clean energy and create jobs, protect the health of residents in environmental justice communities, and increase the resiliency of coastal communities.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) on Friday released its plan for investing the state’s auction proceeds from the RGGI, the cap-and-trade pact among northeastern states dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generating sector.
To help achieve Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050, as outlined in the Energy Master Plan, the RGGI Strategic Funding Plan emphasizes the goal of electrifying New Jersey’s transportation sector, with a focus on projects that will benefit communities that historically have borne disproportionate burdens of air pollution. Projects developed under the plan will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions, leverage funding and stimulate financial opportunities and job creation, improve air quality, and enhance natural resources such as coastal wetlands and forests that sequester carbon emissions.
“The RGGI Strategic Funding Plan demonstrates how our state agencies collaborate to help create a brighter future for all New Jerseyans, especially our environmental justice communities,” said Murphy. “As our state responds to COVID-19, we see up close the vital link between public health and economic development, the same relationship that drives our administration’s efforts to reduce health risks from pollution and climate change through initiatives that also grow our clean energy economy. As we work to ensure that our economy recovers from this pandemic, the investments made under this plan will promote health, equity, and environmental protection, helping us build a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”
Fossil fuel power plants are a significant contributor of carbon dioxide, the primary cause of climate change.
RGGI is a cooperative, market-based cap-and-trade program consisting of states in the Northeast that provides incentives to generators of electricity to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide through investments in clean technologies. RGGI holds quarterly auctions of emission credits, proceeds of which states then use to fund projects that advance climate change mitigation goals.
Other RGGI states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.