NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced a strategic goal today to increase the amount of clean energy in the state by 10 times by the end of 2020. In 2016, the baseline year for this goal, Rhode Island had approximately 100 megawatts of clean energy. Since then, Rhode Island has become the first and still only state with an operational off-shore wind farm.
"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 Governor 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."
The goal will include energy from a broad portfolio of clean energy resources, including off-shore and on-shore wind and solar. Homeowners, municipalities, institutions and private commercial and industrial enterprises can contribute to the goal with smart investments in clean energy. During her State of the State address, Governor Raimondo announced a similar strategic goal to double the number of Rhode Islanders working in green energy jobs by 2020. In 2015, nearly 10,000 Rhode Islanders worked in the green economy.
Since taking office, Governor Raimondo has expanded the state's commitment to clean energy: In 2015, she fought for and signed legislation enhancing net-metering, which makes it easier for homeowners and businesses to invest in clean energy. She worked with Treasurer Magaziner and the General Assembly to expand and repurpose the Clean Water Finance Agency to help municipalities finance a broad portfolio of green infrastructure projects. In 2015, Governor Raimondo signed a 'Lead by Example' executive order that committed State Government to reduce its energy consumption by at least 10 percent by June 2019 (compared to June 2014) and to purchase 100 percent of the State Government's electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The Governor announced her goal at the Quonset Development Corporation, which is currently working on a new 400,000 square foot rooftop solar array and a separate land-based array on Davisville Road that will generate enough power to meet the full energy needs for the agency that runs the Quonset Business Park. Once complete, the green energy project will produce approximately two million kilowatt hours (kWhrs) of energy.
"At QDC, we are pursuing solar power to meet our growing energy needs," said Steven King, managing director of the QDC. "Renewable energy makes excellent business sense - it saves us money, it is reliable and helps us reduce our carbon footprint. We are honored to be one of the projects contributing to the Governor's clean energy goal."