Updated: Sep 9
Pennsylvania’s road to entering the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was a rocky one. We kept you posted on the drama, most recently blogging about how the carbon-capture program in the Keystone State was subject to a challenge in court, preventing them from going into effect.
Now we’re happy to tell you that this particular soap opera has a happy ending (for now): The regulations went into effect Saturday, April 23, when they were finally published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
“For anyone keeping score at home, the Commonwealth Court stayed publication of the regulations in an ex parte proceeding in early April. Because no hearing was ever held on the stay, it was dissolved by operation of Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1531(d) after five days,” GASP senior attorney John Baillie explained. “The dissolution of the stay also effectively discontinued the state Department of Environmental Protection’s appeal of the stay to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, so challenges to the legality of the regulations are back before the Commonwealth Court, at least for the time being.”
We break down everything you need to know about RGGI in a previous post, but in a nutshell: Beginning on July 1, the regulations will cap carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric generating units generating capacity of at least 25 megawatts.
Additionally, those facilities will be required to purchase carbon dioxide emission allowances, which they can trade with other facilities subject to the regulations. Facilities subject to the regulations will also be subject to additional emission limits and monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.
The best part? The proceeds from the purchase of allowances will be used to fund energy efficiency projects.
For those who want to get into the nitty-gritty: The regs cap carbon dioxide emissions from Energy Generating Units in the state to 40.7 million tons for the second half of 2022, and 75.5 million tons for the full 2023 calendar year.
The cap decreases every year thereafter until 2030, when it reaches (and will remain at) 58 million tons.
“Note, however, that this year’s cap might not force any actual, immediate emission reductions,” Baillie said. “ In 2018 – the latest year included in the DEP’s Pennsylvania Greenhouse Gas Inventory – the total carbon dioxide emissions was reported to be about 73 million tons. Because carbon dioxide emissions from energy generating units have been trending steadily lower for years, they are likely to be somewhat lower in 2022 than they were in 2018.”