Local businesses, school tout benefits of RGGI program

Media Contacts
Michelle McCarthy

Environment New Hampshire

Concord, NH – Local businesses and organizations are benefitting from energy efficiency programs in New Hampshire. Hobbit Hill Farms, owned by Dan and Terry Nelson, was able to upgrade their greenhouse, replacing their high-pressure sodium lights with energy efficient LED bulbs to drastically reduce their energy usage and costs.

“When you reduce your energy costs by 70%, that’s right to the bottom line. From a business point of view, you have the chance to become profitable,” said Dan Nelson. “You’re doing two things: you’re helping the environment because you’re using less energy, and you’re helping yourself because you can control your expenses.”

Hobbit Hill Farms was able to improve energy efficiency in part thanks to funding from the best regional clean air and climate program in the country, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The way RGGI creates these benefits is ingenious: it’s a system that ratchets down emissions each year and makes polluters pay to pollute. That revenue – $116 million to date—is then invested in clean energy, energy efficiency and consumer benefit programs, which has led to healthier communities and thriving economies.

St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH was also able to improve energy efficiency in their residential housing thanks to programs funded by RGGI, resulting in annual energy savings of over 462,000 kWh and cost savings of over $56,000. Investing in energy efficiency enabled St. Paul’s to focus on both environmental stewardship and cost saving.

By capping pollution and by helping citizens, businesses, hospitals, schools and local governments to deploy clean energy measures like improving energy efficiency, RGGI has helped cut emissions from power plants in half over the last decade. That has created significant benefits here in New Hampshire including:

  • Cleaner air. In its first six years, the program prevented 10 premature deaths, 200 asthma attacks, and 870 lost workdays.

  • Stronger economy. In its first six years, the program boosted the state economy by $84 million while creating more than 1,000 jobs.

  • Energy savings. Energy efficiency programs implemented in 2015 in New Hampshire saved enough energy to power nearly 9,000 homes.

Over the next few months, New Hampshire and other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states will be considering possible improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Last week, more than 500 organizations, businesses, lawmakers, health professionals, and community leaders from the Northeast called on Governor Sununu and other regional governors to double the strength of the program and close several loopholes.

On average, power plant pollution in the region has been falling by almost 5 percent per year since 2005. In 2016, pollution went down by 4.8 percent. The coalition is calling on the governors to keep up that pace by lowering the limit on pollution by 5 percent per year through 2030 and address loopholes that undermine the program. That would double the strength of the cap, which currently requires emissions cuts of 2.5 percent per year.

“Governor Sununu should make America’s best regional climate program twice as good, to replicate this energy efficiency success across New Hampshire and the entire region,” said Michelle McCarthy, campaign organizer with Environment New Hampshire. “Together, we can deliver clean air and a healthy climate for us all.”


Environment New Hampshire Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.environmentnewhampshirecenter.org.