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Rhode Island’s Offshore Wind Solicitation Will Create Jobs, Bring State Closer to Renewable Energy Goals

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The home of the nation’s first offshore wind turbines  will be pursuing an additional 600 megawatts of offshore wind energy – enough to power 300,000 homes. Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced that Rhode Island’s main utility, National Grid, will be drafting a competitive request for proposals with the state’s Office of Energy Resources this fall to be finalized in early 2021. The selected project will contribute to meeting the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

The National Wildlife Federation and its Rhode Island affiliate, the Environmental Council of Rhode Island, celebrated this step toward realizing the monumental environmental and economic benefits of responsibly developed offshore wind power.

“As communities simultaneously battle the climate crisis and a global pandemic, responsibly developed clean energy can put Americans back to work securing a healthy and resilient future for people and wildlife alike” said Catherine Bowes, offshore wind program director at the National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud Rhode Island for taking this step forward and look forward to working together to ensure the Ocean State advances an offshore wind procurement process that builds on the success of the Block Island Wind Farm in championing wildlife protections, community benefits, and local job creation.”

“This procurement — especially if paired with complementary policies like a 100 percent renewable energy standard, strong siting processes, and environmental justice protections—could set us on the path to a low carbon future,” said Kai Salem, policy coordinator at Green Energy Consumers Alliance and vice president of policy for the Environment Council of Rhode Island. “We look forward to working with state agencies to ensure that this procurement results in a process and project that enhances equity, reduces emissions, and grows Rhode Island’s economy.”

With Rhode Island’s announcement, offshore wind energy commitments from seven states on the east coast now total over 25,000 MW – enough to power nearly 15 million homes. Leading states are beginning to include requirements and incentives for responsible development practices in their bidding processes for new offshore wind contracts. New York and New Jersey’s most recent request for proposals, totaling nearly 5,000 megawatts, require developers to contribute financial and technical support to regional monitoring of fish and wildlife – an essential tool for equipping regulators and stakeholders to learn from America’s first round of large scale construction.

Rhode Island’s 2021 solicitation, once final, will bring Rhode Island’s offshore wind commitment to over 1,000 megawatts – enough to power 500,000 homes. The state’s first utility scale project, Revolution Wind, was contracted in 2018 and is expected to come online in 2023.

Click here for more information on the National Wildlife Federation’s work to advance responsibly developed offshore wind power in the Atlantic.

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