Miller bill would require fossil fuel plant developers to invest in renewable energy
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Joshua Miller has introduced legislation to help Rhode Island reach its renewable energy goals by requiring developers of new fossil fuel-burning power plants to also invest in renewable energy.
The legislation (2018-S 2508) would require any applicant to the Energy Facilities Siting Board who seeks to build a power plant that uses fossil fuel as its primary or secondary fuel to also build or invest in renewable energy generation in Rhode Island. The cost of construction or investment must be equal to at least 20 percent of the cost of the fossil fuel facility. Alternatively, the developer could pay an amount equal to at least 25 percent of the fossil fuel facility’s cost to the state’s Renewable Energy Development Fund.
The bill, which will be heard today by the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee after the Senate session in Room 211 on the second floor of the State House, aims to ensure that the state achieves its stated goals of generating a higher percentage of its power through renewable sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“If we are truly committed to a sustainable future, we must start steering investments more toward renewable sources and away from fossil fuels. With this bill, we are saying that those who hope to make a profit in Rhode Island building new fossil-fuel power plants that are going to pollute our air need to make a significant investment in clean energy production too. We can and must require power plant proposals to align with Rhode Island’s clean energy targets if we are serious about achieving those goals,” said Senator Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), who is the chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Last year, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced a strategic goal of increasing Rhode Island’s clean energy generating capacity tenfold by 2020, from 100 MW in 2016 to 1,000 MW. By the end of 2017, Rhode Island has about 244 MW of wind, solar, landfill/anaerobic gas and hydroelectric generation. Under the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014, the state set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent from 1990 levels by 2020; 45 percent by 2035; and 80 percent by 2050.
The legislation is supported by Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island.
“Rhode Island must accelerate the transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy — and this bill recognizes that truth,” said Amy Moses, vice president and director of Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island. “We commend Chairman Miller for promoting renewable energy, and for insisting that polluting power plants bear some of that responsibility.”
The bill is cosponsored by Sen. Jeanine Calkin (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) and Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903