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The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Budget Trading Program

Solar panels on roof in Albany
Solar power is free of greenhouse gas emissions.
Funding from RGGI allowance auctions
is helping build New York's clean energy future
with solar and other renewable energy sources.
(Photo credit: NYS Dormitory Authority)

In Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, RGGI is promoting a clean-energy future with lower greenhouse gas emissions from electric power generation and savings for electricity customers. RGGI is the first mandatory market-based emissions trading program in the U.S. to reduce CO2 emissions, and the first anywhere to use the cap-and-invest model for reducing pollution. In New York State, RGGI is implemented by DEC through 6 NYCRR Part 242, CO2 Budget Trading Program (leaves DEC website). The administration and implementation of CO2 allowance auctions and programs provided for in 6 NYCRR Part 242 is implemented by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through 21 NYCRR Part 507, CO2 Allowance Auction Program (leaves DEC website).

How RGGI Works

CO2 emissions cap

Together, the eleven RGGI states set a cap for total emissions of CO2 from electric generation facilities in the region. Each state implements the program through its own regulation, which include emissions caps (or CO2 budgets) in individual RGGI participating states that are equal to shares of the regionwide cap. The RGGI cap declines over time, gradually lowering CO2 emission limits.

Emissions allowances

Large electric power plants in the RGGI states are required to hold one tradable emissions allowance for each ton of CO2 they emit. Power plants acquire emission allowances primarily through quarterly auctions that are jointly sponsored by the participating states, or by purchase from other allowance holders. Policy DAR-12: Sustainable Harvested Biomass (PDF) determines biomass eligibility for this Program. This includes particular sources of forest-based woody biomass, unadulterated wood, and wood residues. All air guidance and policy documents are available as downloadable PDFs.

CO2 Emissions Offset Projects

Offset Allowances

A CO2 offset allowance represents one ton of demonstrated CO2-equivalent project-based greenhouse gas reduction or avoidance under the Program. Projects producing quantifiable reductions or avoidance of greenhouse gases can offset greenhouse gas emissions occurring elsewhere. CO2 offset allowances provide compliance flexibility to electric power generators by recognizing certain types of reductions of greenhouse gases from projects outside of the capped sector (the electric sector). Offsets also encourage projects outside the regulated sector that can help achieve the CO2 emission reduction goals of the Program and RGGI.

A generator may use up to 3.3 percent of CO2 offset allowances to satisfy the power plant's total compliance obligation during any three-year control period. Detailed information on approved offset project categories, eligibility, and prescriptive application requirements can be found in 6 NYCRR Subpart 242-10 (leaves DEC website).

Offset Project Category

The Program specifies an offset project category and establishes prescriptive standards. These requirements seek to ensure that awarded CO2 offset allowances represent real, additional, verifiable, enforceable, and permanent CO2 equivalent emission reductions. At this time, one project category for CO2 offset allowance is eligible under the Program:

Offset Application and Verification Processes

Project Sponsor Requirements

To apply for an offset allowances award, a Project Sponsor must:

  1. open a general account in the RGGI CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS) (leaves DEC website) and obtain an offset project ID;
  2. submit a Consistency Application to DEC; and
  3. submit a periodic Monitoring and Verification (M&V) Report to DEC.

Verification Process

To ensure the integrity of offset projects, independent third parties are required to verify the projects. The verifier must be accredited by the participating RGGI state in which the project is located.

New York State Accreditation

To apply for accreditation, a prospective verifier must submit a fully completed Accreditation Application, including all forms and required attachments, to DEC. Each prospective verifier should review 6 NYCRR Subpart 242-10 (leaves DEC website) that addresses projects, project verification, and the award of CO2 offset allowances. Prospective verifiers should also review the application and submittal materials for the categories for which they seek to provide verification services.

Accreditation Application Forms and Instructions

The Accreditation Application has been created as PDFs with editable fields. Enter information directly in the fields provided in the forms or submit an attachment with the information or documentation requested, as instructed. Include headers on all attachments indicating the form to which each is attached. The applicant should save an electronic copy of the Accreditation Application for its files.

Submit one complete hardcopy original Accreditation Application or contact the DEC offset contact (leaves DEC website) to submit electronically. Submit hard copies of forms requiring signatures as originally-signed copies and scan such signed forms for electronic submission. Facsimiles of the Accreditation Application are not acceptable under any circumstances. Mail to:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
RGGI
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-3251

Accredited Verifier Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal

Prior to engaging in verification services, an accredited verifier must disclose all relevant information to DEC through a Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal. This submittal will allow DEC to evaluate whether a potential conflict of interest exists, with respect to the offset project, between the accredited verifier and the offset project developer, offset Project Sponsor or project sponsor organization, or any other party with a direct or indirect financial interest in the offset project.

The accredited verifier must disclose in this submission information related to all facts or circumstances that have the potential to create a conflict of interest. In addition to the disclosure provided through this submittal, accredited verifiers have an ongoing obligation to disclose to DEC any facts or circumstances that may give rise to a conflict of interest. DEC may reject a verification report and certification statement that is submitted as part of an offset project Consistency Application or M&V Report if it determines that the accredited verifier has a conflict of interest. Failure to disclose any facts or circumstances that may pose a potential conflict of interest may result in revocation by DEC of the verifier's accreditation.

Submittal Forms and Instructions

The Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal has been created as PDFs with editable fields. Enter information directly in the fields provided in the forms or submit attachments with the information or documentation requested, as instructed. Include headers on all attachments indicating the form to which each is attached. The accredited verifier should save an electronic copy of the Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal for its file.

Submit a Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal to DEC if the project is located in the State. If the project is not located in the State, a similar submittal should be provided to the State where the project is located. Submit one complete hardcopy original of the Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal or contact the DEC offset contact (leaves DEC website) to submit electronically. Submit hard copies of forms requiring signatures as originally-signed copies and scan such signed forms for electronic submission. Facsimiles of the Pre-Engagement Disclosure Submittal are not acceptable under any circumstances. Mail to:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
RGGI
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-3251

Accredited Verifiers

The following organization has received accreditation to perform verification services under the Program:

First Environment, Inc.
Accredited Categories: LM, SF6, AMM, EEE
Valid: August 27, 2019 - August 27, 2022

LM: Landfill methane capture and destruction
SF6; Reduction in emissions of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
ACS: Sequestration of carbon due to afforestation
EEE: Reduction or avoidance of CO2 emissions from natural gas, oil, or propane end-use combustion due to end-use energy efficiency
AMM: Avoided methane emissions from agricultural manure management operations

Agricultural Manure Management Operations

The forms and instructions for a Project Sponsor to apply for an offset allowance for avoided methane emissions under the category of agricultural manure management operations can be found below. The eligibility and offset project standards can be found at 6 NYCRR Subpart 242-10 (leaves DEC website).

Consistency Application

Follow these instructions (PDF) to ensure that all necessary information is submitted properly. The Consistency Application consists of ten forms (PDFs) divided into three parts.

Part 1 - General Information Forms
Part 2 - Category-Specific Information and Documentation Forms
Part 3 - Independent Verification Form

Monitoring and Verification Report

Follow these instructions (PDF) to ensure that the M&V Report contains all necessary information. The M&V Report consists of eight forms (PDFs) divided into three parts.

Part 1 - General Information Forms

Form MV-1.1E - Coversheet

Part 2 - Category-Specific Information and Documentation Forms
Part 3 - Independent Verification Form