What is RGGI?
RGGI (pronounced “Reggie”) is a successful regional program, formed in 2005, that states can participate in to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and require fossil fuel power plants to pay for each ton of their pollution. RGGI is a market-based program that drives utilities and power generators toward cleaner, more sustainable, less damaging energy solutions. The 2020 Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act (HB 981/SB 1027) requires Virginia’s participation in RGGI.
Virginia is the first state in the South to join RGGI. The Commonwealth, together with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont all participate in RGGI, with Pennsylvania and North Carolina both looking to join.
How Is the Money Distributed?
Fifty percent of grants go to energy-efficiency programs for low-income individuals and families. Forty-five percent of grants to community flood preparedness. At least a quarter of funds must go to projects in low-income areas.
Virginia has a huge need in affordable housing. Nearly 30 percent of Virginians are burdened by housing costs—meaning they are forced to spend 30% or more of their income on housing. Virginia has a shortage of at least 200,000 affordable rental units. The shortage affects all of Virginia, both rural and urban areas. Ensuring affordable housing is energy efficient is an investment in the future, helping low-income residents keep energy bills low while reducing climate impact. Efficient housing helps protect tenants from being forced to move due to unaffordable energy bills.
To qualify for RGGI funds, developers must meet strict energy efficiency requirements for new construction, and adaptive reuse and rehabilitation projects—for example by using better airtight windows, and more efficient HVAC systems and water heaters.
Yet, hundreds of home repairs and weatherization services for low-income families have been completed or are in the active pipeline.
Flood Preparedness Grants
Virginia Beach, Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Buchanan County, Northampton County, Hampton, Charlottesville, Alexandria, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Winchester, the Middle Peninsula, and the Eastern Shore. In the second round: Alexandria, Ashland, Charlottesville, Christiansburg, Colonial Beach, Hampton, Henrico, Isle of Wight County, LENOWISCO PDC (Lee/Scott/Wise Counties, Norton), Middlesex County, Middle Peninsula, Newport News, Norfolk, Northern Neck, Petersburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Scottsville, Southside PDC (Halifax/Mecklenburg/Brunswick Counties, South Boston/South Hill), and Tappahannock.
The City of Alexandria received over $3.8 million to implement multiple stormwater management projects that incorporate nature-based solutions.
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission received $11,250 for flood sensors and a flooding dashboard tool.
Applications Awaiting Decision:
City of Alexandria – $2M for inlet program and Mount Vernon culvert replacement and optimization
City of Fairfax – over $140k to do flood resilience mapping and a flood mitigation study of Accotink Creek on the Mosby Woods condominiums
Fairfax County – nearly $19 million for several flood mitigation projects to manage stormwater and reduce flood risk on key transportation pathways, as well as an additional $600k request for floodplain mapping updates
Northern Virginia Regional Commission – $68,500 for hydrologic study of Four Mile Run
Prince Wiliam County – $1.36M for flood resilience master plan and staffing
Town of Occoquan – $131,250 for Resilient Stormwater and Flood Management and Implementation Plan.