The report comes as the price on pollution credits is likely to rise.
The funds have helped create jobs in the growing alternative-energy and energy-efficiency fields, according to Environmental Advocates, the watchdog group responsible for the study.
"A sizeable number of these projects would still be on the state's wish list were it not for RGGI,"
He was referring to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Projects funded by RGGI and carried out by groups like the state
It has also paid for 50,000 home energy audits in which accredited contractors check dwellings for energy efficiency and offer suggestions for lowering heating and cooling costs.
Started in 2008, RGGI includes the
Under the multistate plan, power plant operators purchase credits that allow them to emit carbon dioxide, a major contributor to greenhouse gases and what scientists say has led to long-term global warming.
The credits are auctioned off and there are limits on how much carbon can be emitted each year among RGGI participants and by the individual states.
Much of the focus has been on coal plants, which are major CO2 emitters but which have gone out of vogue in recent years.
The report is coming as the state
They are planning next year to reduce the amount of CO2 that power plants can emit in
Regionally, the number will drop from 165 to 91 tons.
That number will then drop 2.5 percent annually until 2020.
By lowering the cap, the cost of credits, or permission to emit CO2, should go up. That can generate more money for projects and act as a further incentive to limit emissions.
The plan has critics, mostly from the business community, who believe that
"We've always been concerned about the cost of RGGI and the fact that it does come down to us on the bottom of the chain, the ratepayers," added
"You're having the emission reduction anyway," he said.
Power plant operators aren't opposing RGGI.
"Our issue going forward is how that money is going to be spent," said
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