In June, Gov. Donald L. Carcieri’s office signed a bill allowing National Grid to sign long-term contracts to purchase electricity from renewable-energy developers.
“This landmark legislation is a critical piece to Rhode Island’s goal to increase the use of renewable sources of energy to generate 20 percent of the state’s electricity needs,” Carcieri said in a statement.
The legislation requires National Grid to sign 10- to 15-year contracts to buy a minimum of 90 megawatts of its electricity load from renewable developers and up to 150 megawatts from a utility-scale offshore wind farm that Hoboken, N.J.-based Deepwater Wind plans to construct in Rhode Island Sound in the first half of the next decade.
The contracting process will be overseen by the R.I. Public Utilities Commission. Once a renewable site begins generating power, ratepayers will pay National Grid a 2.75 percent bonus for using its electricity.
The bill received strong backing from Deepwater, which was picked by the Carcieri administration to build the offshore wind project and another smaller one off Block Island.
Deepwater and other renewable energy developers say long-term contracts play a key role in allowing them to attract investors because they guarantee that projects will generate enough revenue to cover their upfront costs. Other states, including Massachusetts, have implemented similar policies recently.
The new law “sends a strong signal that Rhode Island is serious about renewable energy,” Carcieri added. “We have the natural resources, a willing and able work force, and now with this legislation we have the regulatory environment to encourage development. Our state is now in the position to be a national leader in this industry.”
Hmmm, I wonder if we can stay the course.
posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster