By David Sims|
EOS Science Writer
May 4, 2012
DURHAM, N.H. -- A report issued today by the University of New Hampshire's Carbon Solutions New England (CSNE) shows grants awarded by the state's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund (GHGERF) generated an annual energy use reduction of 182,800 million BTUs and a savings of more than $5 million to state businesses, communities, and residents in the second year of the program. The lifetime savings from the $18.1 million spent from the fund are projected to be $84.5 million in energy costs based on current energy prices.
The report, which covers the period from July 2010 through June 2011, also shows carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 18,900 metric tons. Projected out over the lifetime of the program, carbon dioxide emission reductions of 300,000 metric tons would be realized. For every dollar invested by GHGERF there will be a return of $4.67 in energy savings over the lifetime of the projects.
The GHGERF was created by state legislation in 2008 and derives its funding from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) - a regional cap-and-trade program that specifically targets carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel electric power generation. RGGI, which has nine participating states from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, creates a market for carbon dioxide emissions, and New Hampshire emissions allowances are sold at quarterly auctions. Proceeds paid into the GHGERF are administered by the N.H. Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
"The RGGI funds distributed in New Hampshire have supported a wide range of projects enhancing energy efficiency in the state," says CSNE director Cameron Wake, a co-author of the report and research associate professor at the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. "Our detailed evaluation shows that these projects conserve energy, enhance in state sources of energy, and reduce the export of energy dollars to other regions of the country or around the globe."
In 2009 and 2010, the PUC competitively awarded 36 grants for a total of $31.1 million to support programs and projects that directly and indirectly supported the reduction of fossil fuel-based energy. The grants went to an array of public, private, and non-profit entities and program types and served a wide range of energy consumers, many whom are not covered by traditional utility-operated energy efficiency programs.
"The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund continues to help New Hampshire reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy and lower its energy bills by delivering $5 million in annual cost savings from energy efficiency," says Jack Ruderman, director of the PUC Sustainable Energy Division.
Carbon Solutions New England is a public-private partnership based at UNH and works to promote collective action to achieve a clean, secure energy future while sustaining the region's unique natural and cultural resources. To view the full report, visit http://carbonsolutionsne.org/projects/ghgerf.