Vermont made $3 million for energy efficiency in 2013

The state of Vermont has made a little over $3 million in 2013 as a result of the Northeast's carbon cap-and-trade initiative. This is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is a market among nine states in the northeastern part of the country. The other participants in this program are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island. New Jersey was originally part of this group, but pulled out in 2011 after taking the funds it wanted.

Vermont entered the market in 2009 and has since brought in over $12 million to be used for thermal energy efficiency programs by selling its carbon allowances to other states in the area. In December, at the most recent allowance auction, Vermont sold nearly all of its supply for a profit of over $860,000. Auctions are held quarterly, and this gives the states opportunities to either purchase carbon allowances needed or sell the excess amount for whatever they are worth.

The money the state makes from these auctions is directly invested in the program called Energy Vermont, the goal of which is to help reduce the heating costs of residents. The governor of Vermont is pleased with the progress his state has made over the past few years, but believes a more intense national agenda needs to be enacted soon.

"Whenever a single state, that's as narrow and long as Vermont is, thinks that it can raise huge amounts of revenue to solve climate change all by themselves … we have challenges. So we need to talk about regional, or better yet, national approaches to the biggest challenge that we face," Governor Peter Shumlin said at a press conference.

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