April 18, 2016

Senate OKs Walaska Bill Expanding Renewable Energy Growth Program

Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick)’s bill extending the Renewable Energy Growth Program through 2029 passed the Senate today along with two other clean energy bills, all of which now wait on action in the House.

The Renewable Energy Growth Program allows small renewable energy producers, such as homes with rooftop solar panels, to sell their surplus energy to national Grid at a set price over a set period of time (15 to 20 years), according to the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau. The program figures critically in the financing of such small projects.

The program provides a set price for the purchase of electricity by National Grid from small scale projects throughout the state. Should Walaska’s bill become law, the program will handle an additional 400 MW of renewable energy over 10 years.

“The Renewable Energy Growth Program is supporting new clean energy investments and creating local jobs, including more than 180 residential solar projects located throughout the state,” said Walaska. “This nationally acclaimed program has been very successful at facilitating development of small scale projects, and its extension will help Rhode Islanders who want to invest in renewables, as well as the businesses who install them.”

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

The Senate passed two other clean-energy bills Wednesday:

Renewable Energy Standard Extension: 

The Renewable Energy Standard, currently scheduled to end in 2019, would be extended to 2035 by 2016-S-2185, sponsored by Senate Environment & Agriculture Committee Chairwoman V. Susan Sosnowski (D – Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown). In 2035, when it is fully phased in, Rhode Islanders will receive 40 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.

“Extending the Renewable Energy Standard lets investors and developers know that there will be continued demand for renewable energy beyond the currently scheduled end-date of 2019, fostering job growth in renewable industries,” said Sosnowski.

The bill was referred to the House Corporations Committee.

Renewable Energy Development Fund Extension:

The Renewable Energy Development Fund (REF), which provides financing for renewable energy projects, scheduled to run out in 2017, would last until 2027 by 2016-S-2450A. The bill, sponsored by Sen. William J. Conley, Jr. (D – Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), signals to developers that the state stands behind clean energy projects and businesses.

In the past three years, the REF provided grants to 510 residential solar projects and 69 commercial projects. From 2013 to 2015, the REF awarded $9 million in grants, which leveraged $22 million in private investment.

“The Renewable Energy Fund has been very effective at facilitating the development of renewable energy at homes and businesses throughout the state,” said Conley. “Extension of the fund sends a signal to developers that Rhode Island continues to support clean energy businesses and job creation in the green sectors of our economy.”

The bill was referred to the House Corporations Committee.

No comments:

Post a Comment