Published on February 24th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer2
MaineHousing Earns a Million Dollars From Carbon Credits to Energize Homes – From Chevy!
I wrote last year about MainHousing Director Dale McCormick, who came up with the innovative idea of selling weatherization carbon credits at the RGGI cap and trade auction to create the funds to get homes and businesses in Maine weatherized.
He just got his first $1 million from carbon credits sold at the auction. Chevrolet will fund almost a million dollars worth of insulating, weather-stripping and caulking in Maine.
Maine is a member of the The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that operates a cap and trade plan that creates the funds to reduce fossil energy use by putting a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide that may be emitted by power plants or companies.
The carbon market assigns a value to a reduction in greenhouse gases, in carbon credits which power plants and other entities must buy to compensate for their emissions. By cutting carbon emissions anywhere in the economy (with money for renewable energy or energy efficiency) there is a net reduction in overall greenhouse gases.
So far, Maine has earned $23.5 million from the RGGI cap and trade auctions to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives in the state.
This is the first time that the energy savings from energy retrofits on low income homes have been used to create carbon credits: but it makes sense. When homes use less energy (especially in Maine which relies on home heating oil) they use less fossil fuels, so they emit less greenhouse gases.
In July last year McCormick had the value of the carbon credits assessed by an independent auditing agency. Numbers were crunched, a value was assigned to the reduction in energy use achieved by various weatherizing options.
“The reason we started this was to get more money to weatherize more homes of low-income people,” McCormick said.
By inventing the “home weatherization carbon credit”, McCormick has made a savings in home energy use worth actual cash in the auction. It’s a great innovation.
Congratulations to Chevy and to MaineHousing for a terrific partnership. Oh, and Chevy sales are way up in Maine… coincidence?