Governor announces results of RGGI auction: Vermont earns $620,000 in first quarterly saleTotal earnings could exceed $3 million in first year; Funds used to reduce energy bills and create ‘green’ jobsMONTPELIER – (Septeber 29, 2008) Governor Jim Douglas today released the Vermont results of the first auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission allowances in North America, saying Vermont sold all its 202,000 allowances at a clearing price of $3.07 per allowance.”This is outstanding news for Vermont,” the Governor said. “This will help us create more and better paying green tech jobs, lower Vermonters’ energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”Vermont will auction 1.2 million carbon allowances each year, and at current prices, could earn almost $3.7 million annually to fund energy efficiency and green economy jobs.”I am very proud that we were the first state to sign on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI),” Douglas said. “RGGI is a crucial piece of the climate change puzzle because it allows Vermont to lower its carbon footprint, tackle energy costs and stimulate our economy.”Six states – Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – auctioned a combined 12.5 million allowances for $38.5 million in the Sept. 25 sale. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, reported that 59 participants from the energy financial and environmental sectors took part in the first-in-the-nation auction, indicating a strong start in the first of many CO2 allowance auctions.Vermont will invest those funds in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and programs to benefit energy consumers, including research and technology to curb carbon emissions. The Public Service Board will appoint trustees to oversee the RGGI proceeds. The Department of Public Service will make recommendations to the Board and its trustees for programs and activities such as weatherization, pursuing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.”The 10 RGGI states have demonstrated great leadership in coming together to offer this first carbon cap-and-trade system, and the smooth completion of the initial auction is proof that the RGGI partners are leading the nation in the battle against climate change,” said Jonathan Schrag, Executive Director of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. “RGGI’s example shows that an open and competitive carbon market can be implemented elsewhere.””The first RGGI auction has successfully used market forces to set a price on carbon, and this will send a clear market signal to support the investment in clean energy technologies,” Schrag added.Any CO2 allowances purchased at the first auction can be used by a regulated facility for compliance in any of the RGGI states, even if that state did not offer allowances in the first auction.The next allowance auction is set for December 17, 2008. These early auctions, combined with the others being held in the first compliance period, will ensure an ample opportunity for bidders to obtain the allowances they will need for compliance across the entire 10-state region. RGGI intends to hold quarterly auctions during the first RGGI three-year compliance period, which will be from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011.About the Regional Greenhouse Gas InitiativeThe 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states participating in RGGI have designed the first market-based, mandatory cap-and-trade program in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The states have committed to cap and then reduce the amount of CO2 that power plants in their region are allowed to emit, limiting the region’s total contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.Under the RGGI process, the 10 participating states will stabilize power sector CO2 emissions at the capped level through 2014. The cap will then be reduced by 2.5 percent in each of the four years 2015 through 2018, for a total reduction of 10 percent.The 10 states participating in RGGI are Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island.For more information about RGGI, turn to: http://www.rggi.org(link is external)
For the fifth year in a row, USC has been ranked the number one school for game design at the graduate level by the Princeton Review. Additionally, the ranking marks the fourth year that the undergraduate program has been distinguished with the honor.The ranking was released Tuesday morning. USC’s program is a joint effort between the Interactive Media and Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts and the computer science department with a games emphasis in the Viterbi School of Engineering. Students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Cinematic Arts, or either a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science degree from Viterbi through the program.Michael Zyda, a professor at the Viterbi School of Engineering’s computer science department and director of the GamePipe Laboratory at USC Games, credits much of the success of the organization to the collaboration between the two departments.“Cinema and engineering programs mashed together — that’s what’s excellent,” Zyda said. “The game industry right now is three times larger than the film industry, and in five years it’s going to be five times larger than the film industry. Hopefully by then, USC will have a school of games.”Another unique aspect of the program is that students have the opportunity to work on large-scale projects throughout the course of the year. Some of these groups consist of almost 40 students, said Graham Hawes, a senior majoring in computer science with an emphasis in games.“As the projects get bigger, they become more ambitious, and with bigger teams of people they can accomplish many things and students can participate in these big projects at least once if not two or three times,” he said.Hawes said he switched from the pre-med track to games after his sophomore year and has not looked back since. He contributed to the engineering aspect of the The Maestros game for one of his major projects.Another aspect of the program that Hawes enjoys is the professionalism of the staff and faculty.“A lot of the staff and faculty are professionals in the field which is better than if they had been in academia for the last 10 years because they have more experience,” Hawes said.Ebonka Agboje, a freshman majoring in computer science with an emphasis in gaming, shared similar sentiments to Hawes’. He said he has been nothing but impressed with the program since coming to USC this year.“USC pools the biggest names that I can imagine for its staff and faculty and I realize why they are the number one program in America — because they offer things that no other school is doing,” Agboje said.Ida Abhari contributed to this report.