Cleaning Up Pennsylvania’s Electric Generation – Pushing RGGI Across the Finish Line!
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI – pronounced “Reggy”) is Governor Wolf’s effort to begin cleaning up the Commonwealth’s electricity generation. RGGI is a “cap and trade” mechanism for putting a price on CO2 emissions from power plants. States in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions that have been part of RGGI for years have reduced their CO2 emissions significantly and have generated major revenue that has been invested in clean energy and other programs to address climate justice. In Pennsylvania RGGI has cleared several major hurdles toward implementation but still faces significant opposition.
At our September PA IPL Philadelphia Chapter program we had several participants who have been following RGGI since its introduction in Pennsylvania and are very familiar with its provisions and what remains to be done to ensure RGGI’s success:
- Bill Cozzens, PA IPL Board member and climate activist with several organizations will be introducing the panelists, providing some background information on RGGI, and moderating the audience discussion and Q&A period
- Nora Elmarzouky, a climate justice organizer working for POWER Interfaith. Nora is the staff person supporting POWER’s RGGI Advocacy team and its Public Utility Commission Working Group.
- Liz Robinson, former Executive Director of the Energy Coordinating Agency Philadelphia, is currently serving as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Solar Energy Association. Liz is an active member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Eco-Justice Collaborative: Quakers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware promoting clean energy and economic, racial, and social justice. Liz has been actively supporting RGGI since its introduction.
RGGI is a complex regulation with lots of components. During our meeting Liz and Nora unpacked some of the complexity and helped us understand the benefits and current status of RGGI in Pennsylvania and what we can do to help push RGGI across the finish line.
Topics covered include:
- How RGGI works and what impact it is likely to have on electric generation and costs
- Benefits: reduction of CO2
- Benefits: Funds available for clean energy and investments in environmental justice communities. How should funds be allocated?
- Current status of approval
- Opposition to RGGI
- Steps we can take to move RGGI forward