A year ago, Executive Order 20-01 cemented in a place Rhode Island’s goal to meet 100% of the state’s electricity demand with renewable energy by 2030. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) worked through the year on an economic and energy market analysis, and developed policy and programmatic pathways to meet the goal.
In the most recent development, OER and The Brattle Group co-authored a report detailing how this goal will be achieved, The Road to 100% Renewable Electricity – The Pathways to 100%.
The report includes economic analysis of the key factors that will guide Rhode Island as it accelerates adoption of carbon-free renewable resources.
The pathway rests on three principles: decarbonization, economics and policy implementation.
The report says the state needs to address the gap between projected electricity demand in 2030 and projected renewable generation capacity. The report predicts a need for 4,600 GWh of additional renewable energy to close the gap. Deploying that much capacity represents a 150% increase in the amount of renewable energy the state has procured to date. The final figure could as much as 600-700 GWh higher or lower.
Addressing the gap
The state is making progress to close the gap.
Rhode Island recently announced plans to solicit proposals for up to 600 MW of additional offshore wind resources. A draft request for proposals (RFP) is expected to be filed for regulatory review in the coming months. Assuming the procurement is authorized and the full 600 MW is acquired, new offshore wind would add about 2,700 GWh per year, or about 35% of 2030 electricity demand.
Beyond this offshore wind procurement, development of retail solar through existing programs could add another 1,500 GWh per year. That leaves a smaller–though still sizable–gap of around 400 GWh per year of renewable electricity.
All this capacity will come with a hefty price. The report finds that rate impacts would likely boost e a typical 2030 monthly residential bill by about $11 to $14 with utility-scale renewables, or by as much as $30 if the entire gap were to be filled with retail solar.”