Governor McKee Highlights Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources 2023 Accomplishments

 Governor McKee Highlights Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources 2023 Accomplishments
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PROVIDENCE, RI – In 2023, the Office of Energy Resources (OER) made significant progress toward achieving the objectives outlined Rhode Island’s Act on Climate. OER has been focused on creating programs and policies that respond to Rhode Island’s evolving energy needs and growing the state’s clean energy economy.
“Our team at OER is continuing to make progress toward creating a brighter, cleaner future for generations to come,” said Governor McKee. “Heading into 2024, we remain committed furthering our energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation, and Act on Climate initiatives.”
“OER is focused on meeting the Act on Climate energy objectives. We have launched and overseen several state energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation programs and are proud of the success that the programs have had on advancing our emission reduction efforts”, said Acting Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns. “Through this ongoing work, OER remains committed to building upon these programs and policies heading into the new year.”
Offshore Wind
In October, OER announced a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding for the nation’s first multi-state offshore wind procurement. This agreement, involving Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, provides a platform for these states to jointly procure up to 6,800 megawatts of offshore wind energy. This collaboration aims to leverage the combined capabilities of the three states to further their renewable energy objectives, stimulate the offshore wind economic sector in the state and region, and achieve substantial emission reductions in the coming decades.
Furthermore, Rhode Island Energy has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to acquire up to 1,200 megawatts of new offshore wind energy, contributing significantly to the state’s clean energy requirements. These offshore wind investments are critical in diversifying and enhancing the state’s renewable energy portfolio.
Additionally, Rhode Island’s second offshore wind project, Revolution Wind, has secured all necessary state and federal permits and is set to commence construction in 2024.
Energy Efficiency Investments
Energy efficiency is key to optimizing Rhode Island’s energy usage and reducing carbon emissions. As of the third quarter of 2023, the state’s energy efficiency programs have saved constituents more than 280,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, contributing to a reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.
For the first time, OER is introducing a competitive process for selecting the administrators of the state’s future energy efficiency programs. This approach will enable OER to provide Rhode Islanders with the most cost-effective energy efficiency services.
In collaboration with RIHousing, OER and Rhode Island Energy have this year awarded grants to four projects under the Zero Energy for the Ocean State Program. This initiative offers up to $500,000 in funding for the design and construction of affordable, energy-efficient housing, aimed at benefiting low- and moderate-income residents in Rhode Island.
Executive Order on Clean Energy for State Agencies
Governor McKee signed an Executive Order updating Rhode Island’s goals for clean energy, energy efficiency, and emission reduction across all state agencies. This revision aligns the Executive Order with the Act on Climate, ensuring that state agencies adhere to specified emissions reduction targets.
The effort is anchored by two key programs: the Public School Energy Equity Program for schools and the State Government LBE Energy Program for state agencies. These programs are instrumental in addressing the energy requirements of the public sector in Rhode Island.
By the end of the current year, the Public School Energy Equity Program will have completed or initiated energy projects in 28 schools. These initiatives, particularly in the school districts of Central Falls, Pawtucket, West Warwick, and Woonsocket, involve substantial upgrades such as LED lighting and controls, heat pump water heaters, and building automation systems, enhancing both energy efficiency and the learning environment.
Agriculture Energy Projects
OER, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, has awarded 14 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to local farms. This represents the largest number of applications both received and approved in a single round since the program’s inception in 2016.
Clean Transportation
This year, OER’s DRIVEEV electric vehicle rebate program has issued 412 rebates, totaling 1,016 since its inception in July 2022.
Additionally, the Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bicycle Rebate Program, aimed at making electric bicycles more affordable, has provided 730 rebates this year, reaching a total of 851 since October 2022.
OER, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Management, is advancing Phase 1 of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program. This phase focuses on installing DC Fast Chargers at Ashaway Park and Ride and Route 117 Park and Ride in Warwick.
Federal Funding
The Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021. A second bill, The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law on August 6, 2022.
Both laws include significant investments in state energy offices. OER is set to receive funds for various programs. These include enhancing grid resilience, expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure, updating building energy codes, and providing training for residential energy contractors. In 2024, OER will introduce two new rebate programs focused on home energy efficiency. Furthermore, OER has recently initiated the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program, available to municipalities under the IIJA law.
To learn more about the federal funding opportunities in Rhode Island, visit OER’s website.

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