Rhode Island set to raise renewables mandate to 40%

Source: By Richard A. Kessler in Fort Worth, Global Renewable Energy News • Posted: Friday, June 24, 2016

Rhode Island’s legislature passed a bill that raises the renewable energy mandate from 14.5% by 2019 to 40% by 2035, joining a growing number of US states that have done so to diversify their energy mix and reduce CO2 emissions.

Governor Gina Raimondo, a strong supporter of wind energy development, is expected to sign the bill, 2016-S 2185A/House 7413B into law.

“States with the best policies are going to attract the most business,” contends American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) chief executive Tom Kiernan.

According to the non-profit Wind Energy Foundation, growing wind power in Rhode Island could result in $240m in electricity bill savings by 2050 and up to $744m in savings through lower natural gas prices.

Rhode Island, the smallest state, has become a US leader in offshore wind development. Developer Deepwater Wind expects to have its pioneering five-turbine, 30MW Block Island project fully operational in state waters in the fourth quarter.

The country’s first offshore wind facility has positioned the Port of Providence as a potential hub for sector development among northeastern states along the Atlantic Ocean.

Rhode Island is also expected to benefit through access to solar and wind capacity build-out elsewhere through several regional high-voltage transmission projects in development.