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During the first two years of participation, RGGI provided $250M to make low-income housing in Virginia more energy efficient. The Housing Innovation Energy Efficiency (HIEE) fund, administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development, provides capital to make energy efficiency upgrades to both new and existing housing. These funds allow weatherization providers and affordable housing developers to provide safe, affordable, and energy-efficient homes to low-income families like never before.

A new report released by the Virginia Commonwealth University, Investing in Virginia Through Energy Efficiency: An Analysis of the Impacts of RGGI and the HIEE Program, modeled the impacts of the energy efficiency revenue that would be generated if the Commonwealth remains in RGGI through 2030. It is predicted that the revenue generated would fund energy efficiency improvements to over 100,000 low-income homes, resulting in approximately $70-80M in customer savings per year. This breaks down to an average annual savings of $676 per household.

Regulatory Action

On December 7, 2022, the Air Pollution Control Board voted in support of the proposed regulations to withdraw Virginia from RGGI. The draft regulation was posted on January 30, 2023, kicking off the 60-day public comment period. A public hearing is scheduled for March 16th at 2:00 pm in Richmond. You can submit your written comments by March 31st on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Check out the anticipated timeline to the right and stay tuned here for updates.

In a letter to the Air Board, Virginia legislators state that this regulatory action is unlawful and that only the General Assembly has the authority to end the state’s participation in this vital program. However, on December 7, 2022, a representative for the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) stated the Air Board does have authority, despite a previous opinion that was shared with Air Board members allegedly stating that the board did not have authority to do so.

Regardless, that doesn’t mean that we should not take the administration’s action seriously.

While Regulatory Actions typically take 18-24 months, the Youngkin administration plans to complete this action before the current RGGI contract ends in December 2023.

Legislative Action

A RGGI repeal bill, SB 1001, was introduced during the 2023 General Assembly Session by Senator Stuart but has been passed by indefinitely.

A provision in the Governor’s budget bill (SB800) would withdrawl $11M out of the RGGI energy efficiency fund for flooding relief in Southwest Virginia, which should already be supported by the Coastal Resiliency Fund. Senator Marsden and Delegate Carr have introduced budget amendments (Item 114 #14s and Item 114 #24h) that would instead provide flooding relief using money from the general fund.