Virginia is first southern state to join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

This week, Virginia Governor
Ralph Northam announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has become the newest
member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based
collaborative effort among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to combat climate
change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, while driving
economic growth.

RGGI members include
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and now Virginia.

RGGI’s regional cap-and
trade-program is designed to reduce climate pollution from fossil fuel power
plants. Member states agree to a cap on carbon dioxide emissions, and power
generators in those states must reduce emissions to meet the cap or buy
additional allowances through an auction administered by RGGI, Inc.[1] the nonprofit organization
that coordinates participation in the program.

Virginia has adopted a
regulation that is similar to the regulations adopted by all other RGGI member
states to implement the regional cap-and-trade program.

“As the southernmost state to
join RGGI, Virginia is sending a powerful signal that our Commonwealth is
committed to fighting climate change and securing a clean energy future,” said
Governor Northam.

“This initiative provides a
unique opportunity to meet the urgency of the environmental threats facing our
planet, while positioning Virginia as a center of economic activity in the
transition to renewable energy. Our Commonwealth is ready to lead the way in
ensuring that the path to reducing carbon emissions is equitable and protects
the health and safety of all Virginians.”

“RGGI provides a framework for
meaningful action on climate change that begins to green the energy market and
ensures that prices tell the truth about costs,” said Secretary of Natural
Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “This collaboration with regional partners will
help us capture the environmental, health, and economic benefits from the clean
economy for all Virginians.”

passed during the 2020 General Assembly session
[2] will permit Virginia
to use proceeds generated from the auction for community flood preparedness,
coastal resilience, and energy efficiency programs benefitting low-income
Virginians. The Department of Housing and Community Development, in
coordination with the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, will administer
approximately 45 percent of the proceeds to community flood prevention and
coastal resilience programs, and three percent will be used by the Department
of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to further statewide climate planning efforts.

“Last April, after the
culmination of a significant public process, Virginia finalized a regulation to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “The
thorough public input process was essential in producing the carbon regulation
the Commonwealth recently enacted.”

Related RGGI news:

Andrea McGimsey, senior director for Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions campaign said she was pleased with the news. “Global warming affects every American, and the Southeast is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather,” she said in a statement, adding, “It’s great to see Virginia take a commanding role on one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century. ”


  1. ^ RGGI, Inc. (
  2. ^ Legislation
    passed during the 2020 General Assembly session
  3. ^ Renewable Energy World Content Team (
  4. ^ View all posts by Renewable Energy World Content Team (

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