December 9, 2022

McKee announces pair of bills focusing on offshore wind energy

Procurement of 600 megawatts of offshore wind capacity are the focus of new bills, Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee said.

The governor said legislation was introduced in each chamber of the Legislature that would mandate a market-competitive procurement for new development of offshore wind which the state’s primary utility company would issue no later than Aug. 15, if the bill is enacted.

“As home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm, Rhode Island is a pioneer in the blue economy,” McKee said in a release. “Offshore wind represents one of the best opportunities for Rhode Island to scale up its clean energy resources in order to meet our greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. Expanding our offshore wind resources will further our state’s position as the North American hub for industry activity, attracting new investment and job growth opportunities across the green economy.”

Senate Bill 2583 and House Bill 7971, which are sponsored respectively by Sen. Dawn Euer, D-Newport, and Rep. Arthur Handy, D-Cranston, would mandate offshore wind companies to submit information pertaining to potential environmental impacts on the fishing industry, estimates for local economy benefits, and plans for the bidding company’s intentions on labor agreements.

The Office of Energy Resources, according to the release, along with the Department of Environmental Management and Rhode Island Commerce will review any offshore wind project contracts, which will then be filed with the Public Utilities Commission for review and approval.

Block Island, according to the release, is North America’s first fully operational offshore wind farm that has gained approval for a 400 megawatt Revolution Wind offshore project. The new effort falls in line with the 2021 Act on Climate, which sets mandatory goals for reducing emissions and developing a net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

According to the release, the new 600 megawatt allotment would increase the state’s clean energy portfolio. The effort may reach 30% of the state’s 2030 electricity demand. The initiative would power 340,000 homes each year. Combined with Block Island, offshore wind electricity production could meet half of the state’s needs.

“To achieve our net-zero emission future, Rhode Island must accelerate its adoption of carbon-free electricity to power homes and businesses and unlock the promise of cleaner transportation and heating solutions throughout our economy,” Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources Commissioner Nicholas S. Ucci said in the release. “Offshore wind is an advantageous clean energy resource for our state, one that can be developed at significant scale to help meet winter energy demands and expand economic opportunities across the green economy.”

This article was originally posted on McKee announces pair of bills focusing on offshore wind energy

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