Rhode Island completes port upgrades to support offshore wind

Governor Dan McKee joined the Quonset Development Corporation and state and local officials to cut the ribbon on the modernized Pier 2 at Quonset’s Port of Davisville. (Courtesy of Rhode Island Governor’s Office).

A port in Rhode Island is available to support offshore wind activities.

Modernization and expansion of Pier 2 at Quonset’s Port of Davisville cost $83 million.

The project extended Pier 2 by 232 feet, created a third berthing space and dredged the port to accommodate larger ships— enhancements crucial for the buildout of wind projects off Rhode Island’s coast.

The modernization effort was funded by Rhode Island voters and was completed $7 million below budget.

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Governor of Rhode Island Dan McKee (D), Governor of Rhode Island, has proposed an additional $60 million in infrastructure investments for the Port at Davisville in his Fiscal Year 2023 budget.

The funds will be used in the construction of Terminal 5 Pier. They also complete the dredging.

McKee said the upgrades at Port of Davisville would position Rhode Island to “continue leading the nation in the race for offshore wind.”

McKee signed legislation last month that established the nation’s most ambitious renewable energy goal.

The legislation accelerates plans to make the electric grid 100% renewable energy-powered by 2033.

It’s the most ambitious timeline in the country — Oregon is the next closest state, with legislation that requires retail electricity providers to reduce emissions by 100% by 2040, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. According to the NCSL, there are currently 10 states that have a 100% renewable standard or clean-energy standard. The majority of timelines fall between 2040 and 2050.

The legislation states that Rhode Island will receive all its energy from renewable sources by 2033.

Rough seas around the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island. (Image: Dennis Schroeder / NREL)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo signed an executive order when she was Rhode Island’s governor in 2020 that aimed to make the state the first in the nation to be powered completely by renewable energy by the end of the decade. State law required that the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources be increased by 1.5 percentage points each year through 2035.

Rhode Island’s General Assembly also approved legislation this year to require the state’s electric utility to contract for up to 1,000 megawatts of new offshore wind capacity. The first U.S. offshore wind farm opened off Block Island, Rhode Island in 2016.

McKee is among a group of 11 East Coast governors that signed on to a formal partnership with the White House last week to boost the growing offshore wind industry, a key element of President Joe Biden’s plan for climate change.

This article also includes reporting from the Associated Press.