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State renews initiative to expand solar energy on brownfields

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) has announced that it is renewing an initiative to encourage solar projects located on brownfields for the third year in a row.

Brownfields former industrial or commercial sites where future use is affected by environmental contamination are often ideal locations for renewable energy projects. OER has committed an additional $1 million in state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds to this program in addition to the $2 million allocated between 2019 and 2020.

"Accelerating our state's adoption of clean energy resources through the utilization of previously-disturbed sites is vital to achieving our greenhouse gas emissions reduction mandates while preserving Rhode Island's natural environment," said Nicholas S. Ucci, State Energy Commissioner. "Our program to expand solar developments on brownfields has been very successful in its first two years, which is why we have decided to continue this important effort. Not only does it help our state reduce its carbon emissions, but it also supports clean energy jobs and helps cities and towns reclaim contaminated lands for useful purposes."

This new round of funding will support development of carbon-free electric generating resources and is available through Rhode Island Commerce's Renewable Energy Fund effective May 19, 2021, until funds are exhausted. From 2019 to 2020, $2 million was awarded to 12 solar brownfield projects in Providence, Cranston, Bristol, Warren, Portsmouth, East Greenwich, East Providence, Smithfield, and South Kingstown. These projects totaled 25.12 megawatts in renewable energy capacity.

In April, Governor Dan McKee signed into law the 2021 Act on Climate, requiring the state to incrementally reduce climate emissions to net-zero by 2050.

Applications may be found on the Renewable Energy Fund website: https://commerceri.com/financing/renewable-energy-fund/.

To read more about how Rhode Island is addressing climate change mitigation and resiliency, please visit: http://climatechange.ri.gov.

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