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Renewable Energy Programs & Incentives

Rhode Island Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program

During the 2013 legislative session, legislation was introduced to establish a Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. The General Assembly passed the legislation and in July 2013 Governor Chafee signed the PACE legislation into law. PACE is a financing program designed to help qualifying homeowners invest in specified energy efficiency and/or renewable energy improvements. PACE is a voluntary program that municipalities can choose to participate in.

The PACE program helps in addressing one of the primary barriers for homeowners that want to invest in energy efficiency and/or renewable energy installations, which is the lack of upfront capital. Energy efficiency and/or renewable energy improvements are repaid by a special assessment paid at the same time as property taxes. The PACE program will provide an opportunity for homeowners to invest in renewable energy and/or energy efficiency upgrades, and also leverage the existing state and federal energy incentives.

 

For further information please see a copy of the PACE law below:

Senate Bill

House Bill

For further information or questions about the PACE program, please contact:

Chris Kearns
Office of Energy Resources
401-574-9113
christopher.kearns@energy.ri.gov


Offshore Wind Energy

The State has made significant investments in offshore wind developments over the last several years, including the groundbreaking Oceanic Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) for offshore wind activities. This study was performed by the University of Rhode Island.

The Block Island 30 megawatt offshore wind project is currently going through its permitting review process with both state and federal agencies, including the Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC) and the federal Army Corps of Engineers. The Block Island project is anticipated to start construction in 2014, with the project being commissioned in 2015. This will be one of the first offshore wind farms in the United States.

For further information about the Ocean SAMP study, click here


As the state's offshore wind farm project has been under development, the federal offshore wind activities have been making significant progress with the Area of Mutual Interest (AMI) identified in federal waters between Rhode Island and Massachusetts for the proposed federal offshore wind projects.

The Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) and the Department of Interior (DOI) are the two federal agencies overseeing this effort. The Office of Energy Resources and the CRMC have been monitoring this projects development, including the proposed federal offshore wind auction and leasing process, in coordination with the Governor and the Congressional Delegation.

Below is a copy of the letter that was submitted to BOEM by Governor Chafee about BOEM proposed auction and leasing process for the AMI:


For further information about the federal offshore wind projects, click here


Distributed Generation Contracts Program

The 40 megawatt Distributed Generation Standard Contracts (DG) program requires National Grid to enter into fifteen-year renewable energy contracts with private landowners, businesses, and municipalities at a set and fixed price. Currently, wind, solar photovoltaic, and anaerobic digestion technologies are eligible to participate in the DG program. Projects compete to participate in the program and contracts are awarded based on price and economic factors. All projects that sign a DG contract with National Grid are required to begin operation within eighteen months of the DG contract execution. If a DG project is not installed by that time, then the contract is voided by National Grid.

The first DG enrollment occurred in December 2011, with five megawatts allocated to wind and solar photovoltaic projects. There were two enrollments in 2012, with approximately 11.177 megawatts awarded to solar photovoltaic systems. All parties considering submitting a DG application will need to complete a preliminary feasibility interconnection study with National Grid, and submit a bond deposit with the DG application. There will be three DG program enrollments in 2013 and 2014 for the remaining megawatts available. The 2013 DG enrollments have been tentatively set for March, July, and September.

For further information about the DG program and results, please visit the following links:


Renewable Energy Fund

The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) provides grants and loan opportunities for eligible renewable energy technologies for preliminary feasibility studies as well as direct residential, commercial, and municipal installations. Funding is also offered for new renewable energy business ventures and innovative development. The fund is supported by a surcharge on electric customers' bills. The REF program is currently administered by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation with the Office of Energy Resources providing assistance in development of the rules and regulations and evaluation of submitted REF applications. The new REF rules and regulations were approved by the Economic Development Corporation Board in December 2012.

For further information about the REF program, click here


Net Metering

The Net-Metering program allows homeowners, businesses, and municipalities to offset their electricity usage with eligible renewable energy technologies. Net-metered renewable energy installations are generally sized to meet a property's electric demand. Net-metered systems are allowed to generate excess electricity, but not more than 125% of the electricity consumed on-site. The homeowner, business, or municipality can choose to receive compensation for that excess generation or a credit to their future electric bills.

For further information about the Net-Metering program, click here


Renewable Energy Sales Tax Exemption

The State provides sales tax exemptions for eligible renewable energy materials. For further information about what is eligible under the sales tax exemption law, please click here


Federal Investment Tax Credit

The Federal Government provides a thirty percent Investment Tax Credit for eligible renewable energy systems for homeowners and businesses. The federal Investment Tax Credit program is currently in place until December 31, 2016. For further information, click here


For further information about the state and federal renewable energy programs and incentives, please contact:

Chris Kearns
Office of Energy Resources
401-574-9113
christopher.kearns@energy.ri.gov