R.I. Gov. Raimondo picked to lead wind, solar coalition

Source: By Colin A. Young, State House News Service, Herald News • Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who has overseen the rise of the country’s first offshore wind farm, has been tapped to lead a group of governors interested in promoting wind energy.

Raimondo was named 2017 chair of the Governors’ Wind and Solar Energy Coalition, a bipartisan group that Massachusetts helped to found in 2008, and Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas was named vice chair, the coalition announced Monday.

The announcement came as coalition members gathered Monday in Providence for an offshore wind development summit, the group said.

“As the governor of the first state in the nation to develop commercial offshore wind energy resources, I look forward to continuing our work with other governors to expand offshore wind and to collaborating with states across the nation to open new markets for wind and solar energy,” Raimondo said in a statement.

Federal officials say the Rhode Island wind farm, off Block Island, is expected to start operating by the end of 2016 and will produce 30 megawatts of power, enough to deliver electricity to 17,000 homes.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker this year signed into law a bill that directs utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by 2027, which state officials hope will spur the development of an offshore wind industry in the Bay State.

To support that growing industry, the Baker administration signed a letter of intent with DONG Energy, Deepwater Wind and OffshoreMV to lease the $113 million harborside New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.