The new initiative calls for the dramatic increase to the amount of clean energy in the state by 2020.
Last year, the Ocean State had approximately 100 megawatts of clean energy. In the next three years, the Governor hopes to reach 1,000. For context, the five wind turbines installed off the coast of Block Island generate about 30 megawatts of energy, enough to power more than 15,000 homes.
“There is some leap of faith that things can be made to happen more rapidly in the state,” said Timmons Roberts, an environmental science professor at Brown University. “But I think it’s not wildly unrealistic. It’s very ambitious.”
Roberts said such a goal will require rapid adoption of renewable energy across the state in the private and public sector.
“What it’s going to take is some big institutions like the hospitals, the big universities, our companies, our school systems, thinking differently about how they’re going to meet their energy needs,” said Roberts. “Seeing if they can install some renewables on the grid.”
In order to reach the new goal, Roberts says, Rhode Island will need to adopt renewable energy at roughly triple its current rate. He says the state will need new policies to incentivize green technology, and he hopes to see legislation slap a tax on carbon emitting fossil fuels coming into the state.