PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Friday committed to making Rhode Island the first state in the country to be 100% powered by renewable energy.
Her goal is to reach this by the year 2030.
“We’re already leading the fight against climate change, but we have to take increasingly aggressive action if we want to avoid catastrophe,” Raimondo said. “I’m fully committed to protecting the beauty of our state and our way of life for future generations.”
It’s something that Rhode Island’s Acting Energy Commissioner Nick Ucci says while bold, is achievable.
Raimondo says Rhode Island is consistently ranked third in the nation for energy efficiency, solar power was brought to state buildings and brownfield sites.
Rhode Island is the nation’s leader in offshore wind and Raimondo says there will be enough offshore wind energy to power half of the homes in the state in a few years. The first U.S. offshore wind farm began operating off Block Island in late 2016.
“Today is about maintaining our leadership position and pushing ourselves to do more and go faster,” Raimondo added.
Raimondo’s renewable electricity goal is one part of a broader state strategy to address the climate change crisis by reducing economy-wide carbon emissions.
Three years ago Raimondo set a clean energy goal of 1,000 megawatts of clean energy products by 2020. She says by the end of the year, the state would exceed that goal.
“In the process of doing that we have created thousands of jobs, in our economy, we have more than 16,000 jobs in Rhode Island in the clean energy economy,” Raimondo said. “It is one of the fastest-growing areas of our economy, we have had a 74% increase in jobs in the green sector since I’ve been governor.”
Ucci says that Rhode Island has benefited from a suite of clean energy policies and programs that are attracting investment and growing jobs while reducing our carbon footprint.
“Because of this work, we are already on track to meet more than one-third of our electricity demand with renewables within a few years,” Ucci said. “I am confident that, working together, our state can build upon these successes and further accelerate renewable energy adoption while balancing energy affordability, reliability, and the very real need to mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello told reporters this week he needs to see more specifics. His concern is the coast to taxpayers.