Assembly approves bill enhancing renewable energy study
STATE HOUSE – Rhode Island will consider the societal benefits, not just the costs, of a renewable energy bill passed last year under legislation passed by the General Assembly today.
The legislation (2017-S 0880A, 2017-H 5318A), sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne and Rep. Aaron Regunberg, concerns a study of a law enacted last year to expand Rhode Island’s net metering program.
Last year’s bill allowed three or more customers to partner up on a renewable energy generation installation and share the credit for energy it generates, and allowed up to 30 megawatts of such projects statewide. It also enabled third-party financing of those projects, allowing homeowners and businesses another way to install and finance renewable energy project by entering into a loan or lease arrangement with a company.
The bill passed today concerns a study that the Public Utilities Commission is required to complete under last year’s bill. It adds that the PUC study should report on not only the costs of the new program, but the benefits. It also moves up the date the report is due, from 2019 to 2018.
“We should take a broader view when we look at the impact of our renewable energy policies. The costs are important, but so are the social and environmental benefits. Any analysis of new laws should look at both the costs and the benefits, to ensure that we have a complete picture of how it’s working,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
Said Representative Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence), who was also the House sponsor of the original legislation last year, “Enhancing this study so it includes the benefits will make it much more useful to us in terms of weighing how this new renewable energy program is working in Rhode Island. Local renewable energy generation is not a drag on our grid, it’s a lift, and any study should include the reality of these benefits.”
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903