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RI Votes to Expand Renewable Energy Growth Program

June 28, 2017

Rhode Island has voted to expand its renewable energy efforts, aiming to reach 400 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in the next fifteen years.

The Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation on Wednesday which promotes new renewable energy projects and initiatives in the Ocean State. If approved, the legislation will add 400 megawatts of renewable-energy capacity to the Renewable Energy Growth Program by year 2029.

History of the Program

Since its launch in 2014, thirty-eight solar projects have been installed through the Renewable Energy Growth (REG) Program. This is a positive change for Rhode Island, right now the state gets 95 percent of its energy from natural gas. The program’s continuation will allow the state to diversify its renewable energy resources to both meet the state’s long term energy needs, and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, too.

The legislation

Governor Gina M. Raimondo must approve the legislation, which will (among other things)

  • Add 40 megawatts of renewable energy each year starting in 2020, ending in 2029.
  • Support new clean energy investments
  • Create local jobs
  • Support more than 180 residential solar projects throughout Rhode Island

Long-term fixed price contracts

In addition, the project allows qualifying distributed generators (i.e. those households or businesses with solar arrays) to sell excess electricity generation to National Grid PLC through long-term fixed-price contracts. Each year, National Grid, the state’s largest energy company, is required to enter into these contracts with a certain amount of renewable-energy generators.

The built-in return allowed through the contracts is intended to motivate businesses and homeowners to invest in renewable-energy projects.

The legislation now goes to Raimondo for final consideration. We will keep you updated on its status!

Contact me or any member of our Renewable Energy Services Group for more information, and don’t forget to consult our blog which provides more details on the program.

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