New York State’s Leadership in Creating RGGI Wins CBC Prize for Public Service Innovation

March 01, 2012

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) has awarded its 2012 CBC Prize for Public Service Innovation to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), recognizing New York State’s “strong leadership role” in developing RGGI and noting that RGGI uses an “innovative and efficient market-based approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; it involves collaboration among multiple states; it has already produced significant results, and it is serving as a model for replication elsewhere in the United States and Canada.”

The award was presented to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Awarded annually, the CBC Prize for Public Service Innovation celebrates creative thinking and shares government achievements with the public and other agencies. In alternating years, it is awarded either to a New York City or a New York State agency. Each year the winner is selected from nominations requested from more than 150 government officials. The award was presented at CBC’s 80th Annual Dinner.

RGGI is a ground-breaking policy mechanism that supports NYSERDA’s mission to advance innovative energy solutions that improve New York’s economy and environment. Pioneered by leaders in New York State, RGGI provides energy and environmental benefits while improving New York’s economy. It has been operating successfully for three years as the only market‐based program in the United States to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is also the first emissions trading program to auction the majority of its emissions allowances, and these funds are being invested in energy efficiency, renewable energy and other carbon abatement strategies.

During the development of the RGGI program, New York led an extensive modeling analysis to provide critical information about potential program features. This analysis informed active stakeholder dialogue and ultimately the selection of the final program design.

To make the auctions a reality, New York exhibited further leadership by overseeing a unique and comprehensive auction design research project. Among other things, this project sought to ensure that auctions would be fair, transparent, and understandable to participants and the public, and would provide good signals about market prices. This project included extensive collaboration with agencies from the participating states and broad stakeholder involvement.

RGGI’s market-based approach has proven to be a cost‐effective and efficient way to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from the electricity generation sector. The reinvestment of proceeds in energy efficiency has helped consumers save money. The unique partnership that created RGGI has in turn enhanced the work of all three New York agencies.

A recent study by the Analysis Group of the RGGI program concluded that the 10-state RGGI regional economy gained more than $1.6 billion in economic savings and saved consumers nearly $1.1 billion on electricity bills and an additional $174 million on natural gas and heating oil bills.

RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Together, these states have capped and will reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector 10 percent by 2018.

To better understand how auction proceeds are being used and the benefits that have been achieved so far, please see our quarterly RGGI progress reports at

Last Updated: 11/26/2014