The money, earmarked mainly for energyconservation and clean-energy programs and ventures, came from the seventh in a series of auctions of credits for power-plant carbon dioxide emissions, held by the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
RGGI was formed by states from Maine to Delaware seeking to cap and then reduce CO2 emissions while debate continued over establishment of a national program. The regional approach requires power plants to buy permits to release CO2 by the ton for each year's operation. The participating states required plants collectively to reduce CO2 output by 10 percent by 2018.
Philip Cherry, a policy manager for Delaware'sDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said proceeds from the auctions must go to programs that benefit the public, such as energy-efficiency programs.
DNREC has set aside more than $1 million of the nearly $13.9 million in total auction proceeds it has received since 2008 to support new approaches to greenhouse-gas control programs.
"We intend to do a competitive solicitation forinnovative ideas about how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions," Cherry said. "We want to see the money going to actually reducing emissions, whether it's an improvement at emission sources or sequestration [of CO2] through various means, like tree-planting."
All plants generating 25 megawatts or more of electricity from fossil fuels have to buy the credits.
RGGI's developers said the system gives electricity producers financial incentives to cut emissions as well as flexibility on timing.
Companies that meet limits don't have to buy credits and can sell any extra credits they may have, while those unable to meet control deadlines can purchase credits needed to cover excess emissions.
About 65 percent of the auction proceeds are earmarked for Delaware's Sustainable Energy Utility energy-conservation and renewable-energy programs, under state oversight.