The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded 1,349 acid rain bonus allowances to 10 utilities: City of Austin; New York State Electric and Gas; Orange and Rockland; Western Massachusetts Electric; United Illuminating; Cincinnati Gas and Electric; Massachusetts Electric; Granite State Electric; Narragansett Electric; and Long Island Lighting. The awards are based on utility energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.
Pursuant to the acid rain requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, an allowance licenses the emission of one ton of sulfur dioxide (SO2). A special pool of 300,000 allowances, the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve, was set aside by Congress to reward utilities that voluntarily adopt new energy-efficiency measures and renewable projects before the deadlines for acid-rain program compliance. (The reserve allowances do not exceed the SO2 emissions cap of less than nine million tons per year.) Before a utility can earn bonus allowances, however, its state commission must have policies in place, subject to DOE certification, that make energy conservation measures profitable.
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