Rhode Island leaders want offshore wind power to supply more of the state’s energy to solidify its position as the industry’s hub, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set an example for other states seeking to avoid the worst effects of global warming. .
The General Assembly is considering the Democratic governor. Dan McKee’s proposal to purchase an additional 600 megawatts of offshore wind power, enough to power around 340,000 homes a year.
McKee said Wednesday that the expansion of the state’s offshore wind resources will further position Rhode Island “as the hub of North America” for the industry. The first US offshore wind farm opened on Block Island, Rhode Island, in 2016.
US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm praised Rhode Island for its role in developing offshore wind power when she visited the Port of Providence in December. The Biden administration wants to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.
State Sen. Dawn Euer, a Democrat from Newport, sponsored legislation in the Rhode Island Senate to issue a request for proposals for 600 megawatts of newly developed offshore wind capacity by August 15. She said Wednesday that with “strong and bold” procurement, the state can continue to lead the conversation on offshore wind development.
“We’re doing it responsibly, we’re doing it sustainably, and we’re doing it aggressively,” said Your, who heads the Senate’s environment and agriculture committee.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo signed an executive order when she was Governor of Rhode Island in 2020 that set a goal of having the power grid run on 100% renewable energy by 2030. Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio introduced a bill in February that would write that goal into law, accelerate current plans and chart a path forward.
And the state’s Climate Act, signed into law by McKee last year, sets mandatory emission reduction targets, culminating in economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050, meaning the amount of greenhouse gases produced will not it is more than the amount removed from the atmosphere.
“There is an urgency here in Rhode Island to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy,” Rhode Island Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci said Wednesday. “Offshore wind power is a resource that is very close to home, can be developed on a large scale and can provide energy at a very good price.”
Rhode Island already gets 30 megawatts of power through the Block Island wind farm and plans to buy 400 megawatts through the Revolution Wind project, a planned offshore wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to power Connecticut and Rhode Island. Adding another 600 megawatts more would provide about half the power the state projects it needs in 2030, Ucci said.
Ucci added that the more renewable resources come online, the more the entire region’s reliance on fossil fuels shifts, since Rhode Island is part of the New England regional grid. Democratic government lieutenant Sabina Matos said Rhode Island is setting an example for the rest of the nation by developing offshore wind power to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero.”
McKee planned to meet with state legislators and agency leaders at the Port of Providence on Wednesday to draw attention to the proposal.