PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources announced today that a contract for fifty megawatts (50 MW) of cost-effective solar energy, projected to save local consumers more than $30 million over twenty years, has been filed with state regulators. The project was selected as a result of a competitive market procurement issued by National Grid. For the first time in the state's history, all three Rhode Island electric utilities – National Grid, Pascoag Utility District, and Block Island Utility District – have agreed to share the project's output. The contract is now subject to review and approval by the Public Utilities Commission.
"Consistent with Governor Raimondo's nation-leading goal to meet 100% of Rhode Island's electricity demand with renewables by 2030, this latest addition to the state's clean energy portfolio will provide cost-effective, carbon-free energy that will save consumers money and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Acting State Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci. "I want to thank our state electric utilities – National Grid, Pascoag Utility District, and Block Island Utility District – for partnering to bring more clean, affordable energy to our state, and I look forward to working with them as we develop the analyses and strategies required to further accelerate clean energy adoption throughout the decade."
The project has agreed to provide energy and environmental attributes at a fixed price of 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour (5.3˘/kWh) for twenty years and will be sited at a gravel mine near Hartford, Connecticut. It is projected to produce enough clean energy to power more than 18,500 homes annually. In addition to the energy cost savings and carbon-free benefits of the project, its developer – D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments – has agreed to provide $300,000 to support clean energy workforce development initiatives in Rhode Island.
On January 17th, Governor Raimondo signed an executive order committing Rhode Island to be powered by 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of the decade. Her executive order directs the state's Office of Energy Resources to conduct an economic and energy market analysis and develop actionable policies and programs to reach this goal.
The Governor's 100 percent by 2030 renewable electricity goal is one part of a broader state strategy to address the climate change crisis by reducing economy-wide carbon emissions. Three years ago, the Governor set an ambitious goal to accelerate Rhode Island's clean energy supply ten-fold by the end of 2020, for a total of 1,000 MW. Thanks to continued growth in local renewables, competitive procurements of well-priced, carbon-free resources at scale, and nation-leading energy efficiency programs, the state is on track to reach that goal by the end of this year.
Also, in July 2019, the Governor signed Executive Order 19-06, which calls for state agencies to engage with public and private sector partners to identify the economic, energy, and environmental opportunities and challenges posed by Rhode Island's heating sector. The agencies have been tasked with creating a comprehensive approach to set the state on a course toward a lower-carbon heating future.
For more information on the Governor's 1000 MW by 2020 goal, please visit www.energy.ri.gov/renewable-energy/governor-clean-energy-goal.php.
To read more about how Rhode Island is addressing climate change mitigation and resiliency, please visit: climatechange.ri.gov.