In a Providence Journal op-ed, RENEW Northeast and the Rhode Island chapter of the Sierra Club explained how National Grid’s rate increase was caused by the retirement of one old dirty plant, driving up consumer prices to pay for new dirty plants. We urged that instead of continuing to rely on these dirty plants and the volatility of imported fossil fuels, we should invest in New England communities, more jobs, and long-term price stability through clean energy, such as wind and solar.
This post is by John Rogers who is a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a director on the RENEW Northeast board.
UPDATE (Dec. 16, 1:34 pm EST): The intense bidding is finally over! After a marathon session that spilled into a second day, and 33 rounds (!) of bidding, the winner of the New York offshore wind area lease is Statoil Wind US. The $42.5 million winning price is by far the highest amount paid in any of the dozen auctions to date, and a real vote of confidence in the future of offshore wind in the US. Exciting times indeed.
It’s been quite a week for offshore wind in the US—new leases, new deals, and the first-ever offshore wind electrons in the Western Hemisphere.
Governor Gina M. Raimondo, joined by Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, led a ceremonial bill signing of legislation that will enhance the state’s renewable energy policies, create green jobs, and help move the state’s energy sector toward a clean, sustainable, reliable future.
On January 29, 2015, RENEW testified before the Rhode Island House Committee on Corporations in support of extending Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Standard beyond the current goal of 16 percent by 2019. In calling for 1.5 percent annual increases from 2020 to 2035, RENEW explained how renewable energy development outperforms fossil fuels in two important ways when it comes to driving job growth: 1) renewable energy development is relatively labor intensive, so it creates more jobs per dollar invested than fossil fuel resources; and 2) installing renewable energy facilities uses primarily local workers so investment dollars are kept in locally. A 2014 study conducted by the Brattle Group for the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and Commerce RI reveals how adding between 164 MW and 1008 MW of renewable energy capacity to Rhode Island between 2015 and 2024 yielded net positive economic and environmental impacts. Economic output will increase between $556 million and $2.3 billion in present value terms.
At a program sponsored by the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI), RENEW’s Executive Director, Francis Pullaro, explained how increasing wind energy production in Rhode Island on land and in its ocean waters can benefit the state’s environment and economy. Addressing ECRI members at the event in the rotunda of the Rhode Island State House were Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Chair of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee Rep. Art Handy, ECRI President Tricia Jedele, ECRI Vice-president Mike Roles, and Department of Environmental Management legislative liaison Nicole Pollock.
Mr. Pullaro also spoke to the current interest policymakers in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Maine have in finding an appropriate role for large Canadian hydropower in their energy portfolios. He outlined RENEW’s vision for large Canadian hydropower in New England in which it provides cleaner balancing power for variable resources like wind and solar as opposed to being a substitute for them.