MIT‘s newly inaugurated David H Koch Institute is expected to save 30% in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
About a fifth of the cost was funded by pollution-auction proceeds from cap and trade at the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Money for all those extras came through MIT’s $14 million campus-wide partnership with their utility, NSTAR. In just 36 months, they plan to cut the university’s energy use 15 percent – enough to power 4,500 Massachusetts homes for a year. The total lifetime payback is expected to exceed $50 million.
It isn’t as if the utility wanted to pay for energy efficiency measures for the billionaire’s building at MIT.
By law, Massachusetts utilities are required to pay for efficiency upgrades whenever the energy savings cost less than building the equivalent amount of new generating capacity.
Other than the 20% that came from polluters like the Koch brothers – through the RGGI cap and trade auctions – ratepayers will pay the rest – just as they do for the equivalent investment in new power plants. And if it wasn’t for the well funded opposition to cap and trade (by fossil fuel interests such as the Koch brothers) polluters would have to pay the larger share.
The Koch brothers have attempted to derail the regional cap and trade programs by installing puppet governors in several states, using proxy front groups like The Tea Party and Americans for Prosperity.
They failed (so far, at least) in New Mexico, where newly installed Susana Martinez acted too hastily and clumsily (previous story) and wound up breaking the law in attempting to reverse course on the Western Climate Initiative, but in New Hampshire, their efforts paid off.
New Hampshire’s newly installed Tea Party House promptly voted to get out of RGGI. ( Another Big Win for Koch Tea Party Funding – New Hampshire Abandons its RGGI Polluter Controls ) While the Governor is a Democrat, the Senate already had a GOP majority and is expected to pass it, and given the new House, it is veto-proof.
The RGGI states use the funds from auctions – of what amounts to fines on polluters (pollution permits), to fund energy efficiency and clean energy for their residents. The money is administered though state and utility programs and funds rebates on everything from more efficient boilers, energy-saving windows and appliances, or solar panels and rocket stoves.
Of $789 million raised by RGGI through last December, more than 50% went to energy efficiency projects. Another 11% went for renewables, and 14% to offset bills for low-income families. Less than 5% went for administrative overhead, although last year, NJ and NY raided 1 or 2% from their RGGI funds to balance state budgets.
Even so, NJ now rivals California in solar installs, RGGI state residents are saving money on energy, greenhouse gases are lower in all ten Northeastern member states – and in four of them, are now below 1990 levels.
It’s great to see at least one Koch brother on the side of a healthy environment, even inadvertently, and through a program he opposes.
Cap and trade: its even good for polluters!
- MaineHousing Earns a Million Dollars From Carbon Credits to Energize Homes
- New Hampshire Vote to Exit RGGI Endangers Solar Rebates by January
- Massachusetts Joins California and New Mexico to Cut GHGs 25% Below 1990 by 2020
- NM Tea Party Governor Kills 3% Yearly Pollution Reduction Plan