Two energy funds that were raided in the budget got reprieves through the budget implementation process. Well probably anyway.

The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority — the state’s first-in-the-nation green bank –- could wind up getting back all of the $30.4 million commandeered for general revenue. And all $5 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that was to be diverted to general revenue from energy efficiency programs is once again destined for energy efficiency.

But the CEFIA money is still a little squishy. The Authority gets about $27 million annually in electric ratepayer fees. The raid would have taken $6.2 million of that in fiscal year 2014 and nearly all of it — $24.2 million — in 2015.

CEFIA will still lose all $6.2 million in 2014, and now $19 million in 2015, but all of it could get made up. How? RGGI.

RGGI has typically generated about $7.5 million for Connecticut every year. But that is expected to go up considerably because of a new lower cap on emissions. RGGI makes money by auctioning allowances to pollute above the cap. The first quarter auction this year, even with the new cap not yet operative, it already made about $5 million.

Under the new plan, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty will have the discretion to allocate RGGI funds in excess of what’s already budgeted for energy efficiency programs to CEFIA.

And CEFIA President Bryan Garcia, who has known Esty for years and worked with him at Yale, thinks he will. “We’re extremely confident the commissioner will work with us,” Garcia said. “I’m confident that Dan will be there.”

Jan Ellen is CT Mirror's regular freelance Environment and Energy Reporter. As a freelance reporter, her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yale Climate Connections, and elsewhere. She is a former editor at The Hartford Courant, where she handled national politics including coverage of the controversial 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. She was an editor at the Gazette in Colorado Springs and spent more than 20 years as a TV and radio producer at CBS News and CNN in New York and in the Boston broadcast market. In 2013 she was the recipient of a Knight Journalism Fellowship at MIT on energy and climate. She graduated from the University of Michigan and attended Boston University’s graduate film program.

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