Rhode Island Passes Offshore Wind and Renewable Energy Legislation
July 5, 2022 – Last week, Rhode Island passed the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act. The bill was passed alongside the state’s landmark 100% legislation requiring 100% of RI electricity needs be met with renewable energy by 2033. The Affordable Clean Energy Security Act requires the electric utility to issue a solicitation for an offshore wind procurement of 600-1,000 megawatts (MW) by October of 2022 and requires a 30-day public comment period on the draft request for proposals (RFP), which were the top two priorities of the RI coalition. It also decreases payments to the utilities to 1% and includes language for responsible development (environmental and fisheries mitigation plans), labor standards, economic inclusion, and transmission.
NE4OSW RI coalition members and allies were instrumental in ensuring this bill made it over the finish line before the end of the session. They urged the legislature to increase the procurement target and decrease payments to the utilities with strong guardrails such as approval by the Public Utilities Commission. They also supported inclusion of public engagement on draft RFPs, and environmental, labor, and equity considerations in final legislation.
This bill will be crucial in helping RI meet their 100% renewable energy goals, bringing the state’s total offshore wind procurements up to 1,030-1,430 MW – enough to power over 500,000 homes-and setting a strong precedent for other New England states.