Rhode Island governor signs offshore wind procurement bill

(The Center Square) – New offshore wind energy production in Rhode Island is getting a jolt.

Democratic Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation Wednesday morning that increases the capacity of market-competitive offshore wind procurement by expanding the parameters to between 600 to 1,000 megawatts.

“Offshore wind is one of our state’s most abundant natural resources,” McKee said in a release. “Adding offshore wind clean energy capacity is essential for meeting our new 100% renewable energy by 2033 goal and our Act on Climate emissions reductions target. It will not only be beneficial for the environment, but also create hundreds of jobs as we position Rhode Island as an economic hub of this growing offshore wind industry on the Atlantic Coast.”

According to the release, the request for proposals within the legislation seeks an additional 600 to 1,000 megawatts for offshore wind energy which is anticipated to power at least one-third of the state’s estimated 2030 electricity demand. The power generated would be enough to power 340,000 homes each year.

Rhode Island Energy, according to the release, is required to issue the request for proposals no later than Oct. 15.

“When we enacted the Act on Climate last year, Rhode Island made a historically firm, enforceable commitment to rapidly adopt renewable energy and get serious about our climate obligations,” bill sponsor Sen. Dawn Euer, D-Newport, said in the release. “Projects like the one we’re seeking with this legislation are an important part of our energy future.”

Officials, according to the release, anticipate the current proposals combined with the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm and a planned 400-megawatt Revolution Wind project could provide half of the state’s energy needs.

Under the legislation, the Public Utilities Commission will make the decision on whether the utility is to get a renumeration in the amount of up to 1% of the contract amount. That renumeration will expire in 2026.

According to the release, the Office of Energy Resources, the Department of Environmental Management, and Rhode Island Commerce will review bids.

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