PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island legislature has passed a bill (H277/S2274) that would set the fastest timeline for any state in the nation to procure 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The legislation imposes incrementally rising annual benchmarks for electric suppliers to meet until reaching 100% by 2033. If Gov. Daniel McKee, as expected, signs the bill into law, Rhode Island will join nine other states that are working to slow down global warming through commitments to 100% clean or renewable energy.
“Rhode Island is poised to leap to the front of the line of states leading us toward a clean energy-powered future,” said Johanna Neumann, senior director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy for Environment America. “This forward-looking commitment marks another milestone in America’s clean energy journey.”
Rhode Island has abundant renewable energy potential. Wind power alone could power the state eight times over. The Ocean State is also home to America’s first offshore wind farm at Block Island.
H277/S2274 codifies the goals laid out in an executive order then-Gov. Gina Raimondo issued in January 2020 that committed Rhode Island to 100% renewable electricity by the end of the decade. Since the governor signed that executive order, Environment America has worked with in-state advocates to push to codify the goals it laid out into law.
“Rhode Islanders rallied around legislation to power our state on 100% renewable electricity because it puts climate action into practice,” said Kai Salem, Policy Coordinator at Green Energy Consumers Alliance and convener of the coalition to pass 100% renewable legislation in Rhode Island. “This is the first step to meeting our emissions reductions mandate of 40% reductions by 2030.”
Environment America launched its 100% Renewable Campaign in 2018. At the time, only Hawaii had any statewide 100% renewables timeline. Groups in Environment America’s federation played a key role in securing California’s landmark commitment to 100% clean electricity that same year. Since then, seven additional states have made 100% clean or renewable electricity commitments. Environment America, state organizations and our partners at the Student PIRGs plan to continue to campaign for 100% renewable energy commitments from college administrations and state governments across the country.
“When we launched our state campaigns for 100% renewable energy, many thought the vision was too big,” said Neumann. “Commitments such as Rhode Island’s are expanding the realm of clean energy possibilities. Renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds, defying projections and outcompeting fossil fuels in terms of efficiency and cost. We need more states to set their sights on 100% clean renewable energy. The sooner we reach 100% renewable energy, the sooner our kids will have cleaner air and a healthier climate.”