Windmills in a First World Country


With the steady march toward more renewable energy within our nation, legislators in our Ocean State have once again jumped on the bandwagon, and they’re bringing our state’s energy companies along for the costly ride.

A Rhode Island bill being sponsored by solely democrat representatives will have the state drastically increase renewable energy production and supply, requiring all of RI’s electricity to be offset by renewable energy by 2033.

While these forms of energy harvesting are conceptually well-intentioned, promoting these as a way to help the environment, some result in chopping and igniting birds mid-flight is detrimental to the wildlife of our nation.

Looking at the bill itself, the legislation aims to slowly increase the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES), this being a law that requires “utility companies to purchase renewable energy certificates representing a certain percentage of the power they sell annually.”

While this does not prohibit any utilities from supplying energy generated by fossil fuels or guarantee that the energy used in Rhode Island came from a renewable source, it forces companies to generate a corresponding amount of renewable energy to continue operation. 

The legislators encourage the construction of more renewable projects within the state. Looking at some devices they aim to incorporate within the state, solar farms and wind turbines are by large, the most common projects created.

With the impact of these machines, their impact on the environment is not eco-friendly while claiming the opposite in a way to progress as a nation. Looking to wind turbines, over 600,000 bats and 140,000 birds are killed every year in our nation as a result of their placement. Looking at the fields of glass we call “solar farms,” our nation kills over 140,000 birds a year with these.

While not all companies can keep up with the costly creation of renewable energy, they can meet the requirement by purchasing Alternative Compliance Payments, a form of certificates that costs $40 per MWh of electricity. While this form of certificate thankfully has a cap so as to not fluctuate with the market, it will still cost companies tons of money. According to Todd Bianco, the Principal Policy Analyst at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, “in 2020, Rhode Island used 7.5 million MWh of electricity. So if the 100% renewable energy standard existed at this moment, utilities in Rhode Island would need to buy 7.5 million certificates this year for a total of about $300 million.”

The bill aims to support renewable energy growth, it does so by taking a toll on all the inhabitants of the state. With burdening the entrepreneurs and companies that work hard to keep their companies in Rhode Island, it could drive many to look for new places with less restriction on energy usage, resulting in even more jobs leaving our state. In addition, the impact it has on the majestic wildlife that inhabits our beautiful state is another impact, both of which are overlooked for the sake of “the environment.”

Sources:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238034#abstract0

https://ecori.org/legislation-aims-to-spike-states-use-of-renewable-electricity-to-fast-track-fight-against-carbon/

https://www.cbsnews.com/sanfrancisco/news/birds-bursting-into-flames-above-solar-farm-stirs-calls-to-slow-expansion-streamer-solar-field-central-valley-heat-streamer-fire-burn/

https://help.srecs.solsystems.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038556973-Alternative-Compliance-Payment-ACP-

https://www.wired.com/story/why-do-solar-farms-kill-birds-call-in-the-ai-bird-watcher/



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