RGGI 2030: Roadmap for 40 Percent Emission Reductions in RGGI States

Sierra Club
Pace Law School Energy Project
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Project completed February 2016

Synapse analyzed least-cost strategies for reducing emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states by 2030. Synapse’s analysis focused on four well-researched, cost-effective emission reduction measures: energy efficiency, wind and solar generation in the electric sector, and conversion from gas-powered to electric light-duty vehicles in the transportation sector. Using a purpose-built version of Synapse's Multi-Sector Emissions Model (MSEM) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) to model emissions in the RGGI states, Synapse analyzed the impacts of adding the following measures to the RGGI states’ existing goals:

  • Converting one-third of all light-duty vehicles from gas to electric
  • Achieving Massachusetts’ level of energy efficiency savings in all RGGI states
  • Investing in onshore wind generation up to the economically achievable potential
  • Limited investments in utility-scale solar installations

Version 2.0 of the resulting report considers the gas and oil savings (co-benefits) from electric energy efficiency measures and the electric savings from gas energy efficiency measures. It also includes two new carbon dioxide emission reduction measures that were not considered in our original January 2016 report:

  • Gas energy efficiency measures in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors
  • The replacement of aging residential oil heating systems with air-source heat pumps (efficient electric heating units)

In addition, this study:

  • revises the methodology for choosing which emission reduction measures to include in the modeling by incorporating the cost of powering electric vehicles with renewables;
  • reallocates the installation of onshore wind generators across Northeast states to be more consistent with expected wind speed potential; and
  • uses updated levelized costs of energy for onshore wind and utility-scale solar, reflecting the best information available at the time of publishing.
  • With these measures in effect, lower emission reductions are required of the electric sector to reach the same 40-percent all-sector emissions reduction target for the nine Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative states.

Subsequent to this study, Synapse presented a webinar in which Synapse staff used RGGI as a case study to demonstrate the use of Synapse's Multi-Sector Emissions Model (M-SEM). View presentation here.