Rhode Island bill aims to extend RES program

By Erin Voegele | February 19, 2016

Legislation recently introduced in Rhode Island aims to extend the state’s renewable energy standard (RES) through 2035. The program, originally established in 2014, currently ramps up renewable energy use through 2020.

The bill, H. 7413, was introduced Jan. 29. On Feb. 5, it was scheduled to be addressed at a Feb. 9 hearing. According to information posted to the Rhode Island General Assembly website, the committee recommended the measure be held for further study.

According to the text of the bill, starting in compliance year 2007, the state required all obligated entities to obtain at least 3 percent of the electricity they sell at retail to in-state end use customers from eligible renewable energy resources. The standard increased by 0.5 percent each year through 2010, and an additional 1 percent each year from 2011 through 2014. The standard was set to increase an additional 1.5 percent each year from 2015 through 2019.

The bill would add language to the program regulations extending the 1.5 percent annual increase from 2019 through 2035, provided adequate supplies of renewable energy is available. As the RES is currently written, the 2019 standard would remain in place in 2020 and thereafter, unless a state commission determines the standard is no longer necessary for either amortization of investments in renewable energy resources or for maintaining targets and objectives for renewable energy. The proposed bill would make additional changes to how the program is administered after 2019.

A full copy of the legislation can be downloaded from the Rhode Island General Assembly website.