Rhode Island aims for 100% renewable energy supply by 2033

Legislation passed in Rhode Island will commit the state to getting 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2033. If Gov. Daniel McKee, as expected, signs the bill, the Ocean State could have the fastest timeline in the nation for 100% renewable energy supply.

The New England State Legislature on June 17 approved a bill (H277/S2274) which would institute annual increases in the R instituted in 2007 by the StateRenewable Energy Standard (RES). The law requires utilities to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) representing a certain percentage of the electricity they sell each year.

CERs are traded on a regional market. “While the RES does not guarantee that the actual energy used in Rhode Island comes from a renewable source, nor does it prohibit any utility from providing energy generated by fossil fuels, it does cause the generation of ‘a corresponding amount of renewable energy in the region and encourages the construction of renewable projects,’ notes a document affiliated with the bill. In 2022, the RES is set at 19% of retail electricity providers selling in Rhode Island, with the percentage expected to increase by 1.5% per year through 2035.

If signed by the Governor, Rhode Island will become one of 21 states currently pursuing 100% renewable or clean energy goals.

Source: 100% States by PaulosAnalysis/Tableau Public: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/paulosanalysis/viz/100States/100States

Rhode Island, which had a population of about 1 million in 2020, depended on natural gas for 89% of its net production in 2020 – the largest share of any state, according to the Energy Information Administration. The state’s electric grid is operated by ISO-New England (ISO-NE), an independent regional system operator. National Grid, a London-based energy company, had managed 99% of distribution for the state since 2000, when it bought Narragansett Electric Co., just after the state decided to deregulate its electricity market.

National Grid on May 25, however, completed the sale of Narragansett Electric Co. to PPL Rhode Island Holdings, ending its operations in the state. PPL Corp. said the $3.8 billion acquisition will henceforth be known as “Rhode Island Energy”, reflecting “both the company’s commitment to Rhode Island and its pursuit of a cleaner energy future in accordance with the state’s renewable energy and net zero goals.

PPL, however, agreed to a settlement with the Rhode Island Attorney General to proceed with the acquisition. PPL agreed, among other measures, to provide $50 million in billing credits to customers of Rhode Island Energy, for wrstop and not seek to recover more than $20 million of current regulatory assets on Narragansett Electric’s books, and not seek to raise base rates for at least three years after the transaction closes. In addition, PPL has also “agreed to additional actions that reinforce the company’s strong commitment to grid modernization and decarbonization”, including the preparation and submission of an “Act on Climate Report” in the year after acquisition to the state public commission and the attorney general’s office.

“With the sale of our UK business and our acquisition of Rhode Island Energy now complete, PPL is transformed and in an excellent position to create meaningful and lasting value for our shareholders and customers,” the chairman said earlier. and CEO of PPL, Vincent Sorgi. this month.

Sonal Patel is associate editor of POWER (@sonalcpatel, @POWERmagazine).

Lynn A. Saleh