Little Rhode Island is going big with a plan to increase development of renewables throughout the state. This week Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) announced a plan to increase solar and wind development from the 100 megawatts currently in operation to 1,000 megawatts in operation—over the next four years. The new plan builds on the commitments to double the amount of green energy jobs in the state that Raimondo made during her State of the State address.
"Every step we take toward a clean energy future is a step toward a stronger, more sustainable environment and economy. Our commitment to expand our clean energy portfolio will help lower energy costs, create jobs and protect the beauty of our state for future generations," said Raimondo. "As the technology advances, an affordable, clean energy future is no longer simply a dream. Because of the investments we've made and with partnerships across the state, we will increase the amount of clean energy in Rhode Island by 1,000 percent and we'll double our green economy workforce."
Raimondo signed four energy bills into law last July (2016). One expanded the state’s energy standard to purchase 100 percent of the state government’s electricity from solar and wind by 2025. Another reduced the government’s energy consumption by 10 percent by 2019. New legislation also allowed zero-down third-party financing options for rooftop solar customers invited more solar developing companies, like SolarCity, to enter the state’s renewable energy market. Additionally, net-metering arrangements were enhanced between solar farms and utility companies, making it easier for homeowners and businesses to benefit from solar without the cost of buying rooftop arrays directly.
Rhode Island now hosts the US’s first offshore wind farm at Block Island. The 30-megawatt wind farm generates electricity for Block Island customers and is expected to save them up to 40 percent on their electric bills over the time of its operation.
Although Rhode Island was ranked 32nd by the Solar Energy Industries Association with approximately 17 megawatts of installed solar in 2015, development has started to pick-up pace. For instance, a 400,000 square foot rooftop array is under construction at the Quonset Development Corporation’s business park. Once operational the project is expected to generate almost 2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and will generate enough solar power to completely meet the company’s energy demands.Tweet