New R.I. Law Requires State to Offset Electricity with Renewable Energy by 2033

Gov. Dan McKee has signed historic legislation into law to substantially increase renewable energy production and supply by requiring that 100% of Rhode Island’s electricity be offset by renewable production by 2033. Rhode Island is the nation’s first state to commit to 100% renewable energy in 2033.

“Last year, I signed the Act on Climate, which sets mandatory, enforceable climate emissions reduction goals leading the state to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050,” says Gov. McKee. “This historic legislation outlines a firm 10-year commitment to achieve our climate change mitigation goals, giving Rhode Island the most ambitious renewable energy standard in the nation. When it comes to clean energy innovation, Rhode Island has the momentum and the tools to build on it.”

The legislation (2022-H 7277A, 2022-S 2274Aaa) institutes annual increases in the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, the law that requires utility companies to purchase renewable energy certificates representing a certain percentage of the power they sell annually. These certificates can be traded on a regional market.

“Here in the Ocean State, we know that action to address the climate crisis cannot wait,” comments Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence “Rhode Islanders are already feeling the effects of climate change, and the risks facing our communities will grow increasingly dire in the years ahead. This legislation sets forth a bold, but achievable goal that builds on the historic progress made by the Act on Climate in 2021. It will keep Rhode Island, home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm, on the forefront of renewable energy innovation. And it will help us harness the power of clean energy as a driver of economic growth and opportunity.”

Current state law mandates that electricity generated from renewable sources be increased by 1.5 percentage points each year through 2035. The governor signed legislation to accelerate those increases in order to reach a 100% Renewable Energy Standard by 2033.

“This bill supports renewable energy growth and is consistent with the Act on Climate’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by to net-zero by 2050,” states Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown). “In addition to reducing emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels that must be brought to Rhode Island from other places, creating renewable energy supports the green industry, creating thousands of good paying jobs right here in Rhode Island. We’ve seen a 74 percent increase in green jobs since 2014, and that trend is going to continue as we deepen our commitment to renewables.

Under it, the target would increase by an additional 4% in 2023, 5% in 2024, 6% in 2025, 7% in 2026 and 2027, 7.5% in 2028, 8% in 2029, 8.5% in 2030, 9% in 2031, and 9.5% in 2032 to achieve the goal of 100% of Rhode Island’s electricity demand being offset by renewable energy by 2033 and thereafter.

“A 100 percent renewable electric supply is vital if Rhode Island is to achieve its Act on Climate goals and reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050,” adds State Energy Commissioner Nicholas S. Ucci. “Our state is once again setting a bold, but achievable pace for the nation, and we are now one step closer toward a more secure, reliable, affordable and equitable energy future for all.”