Beginning in 2019, Pennsylvania began the process of joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a voluntary and multi-state mechanism for managing carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector. RGGI establishes a multi-state market for carbon dioxide emissions, allowing emitters of greenhouse gases from the electric power sector to trade with one another. Given Pennsylvania’s position as a major power generator in the region, with fossil fuels like coal and natural gas important to the Commonwealth’s generation portfolio, the initiative of the Commonwealth to join RGGI is a major step. Starting in the spring of 2020, the Center for Energy Law and Policy convened an interdisciplinary group of researchers and students to conduct an independent examination of the prospects for Pennsylvania and the region should Pennsylvania move forward with joining RGGI. Our interdisciplinary team represented the following areas (Penn State faculty leads noted):
- Administrative and Constitutional Law (Prof. Daniel Walters, Penn State Law and Department of Political Science): Examining the legal environment under which Pennsylvania is pursuing joining RGGI, including potential legal opportunities and constraints to participation and re-investment of revenues from RGGI carbon emissions permit auctions.
- Electricity System Operations and Markets (Prof. Joel Landry, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering): Modeling energy costs, carbon dioxide emissions, technology utilization and investment in power generation in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Region.
- Air Quality and Human Health (Prof. Wei Peng, School of International Affairs and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering): Modeling emissions of local air pollutants in Pennsylvania and the region, with implications for local air quality and health outcomes.
- Pennsylvania Energy Policy (Prof. Daniel Mallinson, Penn State School of Public Affairs): The energy policy context under which Pennsylvania is considering joining RGGI, policy interactions between RGGI and other aspects of Pennsylvania energy policy (Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards and Act 129), options for re-investment of RGGI emissions auction revenues.
In Fall 2020, the Center for Energy Law and Policy sponsored a series of research-based webinars around the team’s RGGI research. To view any of the webinars, click on the link below. (Note: links will open in a new window.)
Read the interdisciplinary working paper on Pennsylvania joining RGGI.
Read the technical modeling appendix to the Center for Energy Law and Policy RGGI report.