Senate approves President Ruggerio’s bill to require all RI’s electricity be generated from renewable energy sources by 2033
STATE HOUSE – Building on last year’s enactment of the historic Act on Climate, the Senate today approved Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio’s legislation to formalize and accelerate Rhode Island’s commitment to a renewable energy future.
President Ruggerio’s bill (2022-S 2274A) would require that 100 percent of all electricity sold in Rhode Island be generated from renewable sources by 2033 – the most ambitious timeline of any state in the nation. The Senate approved similar legislation introduced by President Ruggerio during the 2021 session.
“Here in the Ocean State, we know that action to address the climate crisis cannot wait. Rhode Islanders are already feeling the effects of climate change, and the risks facing our communities will grow increasingly dire in the years ahead,” President Ruggerio said. “This legislation sets out a bold but achievable goal and builds on the historic progress we made in 2021 through the Act on Climate. 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 requires annual 1.5 percentage point increases in the amount of electricity required to be generated from renewable sources through 2035. President Ruggerio’s legislation would accelerate those increases, and go further, to achieve a 100 percent Renewable Energy Standard in 2033. The legislation establishes the rate of increase as follows:
- 4 percent increase in 2023,
- 5 percent increase in 2024,
- 6 percent increase in 2025,
- 7 percent increase in 2026, and 2027,
- 7.5 percent increase in 2028,
- 8 percent increase in 2029,
- 8.5 percent increase in 2030,
- 9 percent increase in 2031, and
- 9.5 percent increase in 2032 and 2033
The legislation, which originally set a 2030 target date, is designed to effectively phase in the transition to a fully renewable-powered Rhode Island and allow time for the necessary expansion of capacity.
Other measures currently before the Senate will play a key role in capacity expansion, including two proposals sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown):
- The Energy Storage Act (2022-S 2691A) would create a framework for the development of energy storage systems. It has been approved in the Senate and referred to the House Committee on Corporations.
- The Affordable Clean Energy Security Act (2022-S 2583) calls for the procurement of an additional 600 megawatts of offshore wind capacity in the state, adding to the Block Island Wind Farm and the already approved 400 megawatt Revolution Wind project. The bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture this week.
“Rhode Island has been a leader in renewable energy since Samuel Slater harvested the power of the Blackstone River and, in so doing, launched the American Industrial Revolution,” President Ruggerio said. “We in Rhode Island have the opportunity to be pioneers in both energy and the economy again. As we build out our renewable energy infrastructure, we are also strengthening emerging industries.”
President Ruggerio’s legislation is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), Sen. Alana DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown), Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), and Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton).