The General Assembly voted to pass bills that extend and expand a program designed to stimulate renewable energy projects in the Ocean State. Government officials and environmental advocates consider this a big win and game changer for the state.
The approved legislation will build on a three-year pilot program passed in 2011 that required National Grid to have up to 40 megawatts of power in their portfolio from renewable energy contracts. Charity Pennock, the Rhode Island coordinator for the New England Clean Energy Council, said the pilot program was successful in establishing projects such as solar farms in East Providence and Quonset Business Park.
“And we’re building on it. We’re now doing 160 megawatts over the next 5 years that’s going to create a lot more support for the industry. It’s going to jumpstart a residential industry that at this point has been very small," said Pennock.
Pennock said the expanded program will also create more jobs and diversify the energy sources in the state. The bill heads to Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s office for his signature.
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