NECEC Applauds RI PUC Approval of Renewable Energy Growth Program

The New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) issued the following statement regarding the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) unanimous decision to approve the 2015 Renewable Energy Growth Program, created by last year’s Renewable Energy Growth Program Bill (H7727/S2690).

“NECEC applauds the PUC for moving Rhode Island’s clean energy economy forward with the implementation of the first full-fledged renewable energy generation program in the state’s history,” said NECEC President Peter Rothstein. “The clean energy industry is one of the fastest growing, innovative sectors driving economic growth in Rhode Island and New England and this legislation will assure that Rhode Island reaps the economic, energy and environmental benefits that come with that growth.”

With the RI PUC’s decision, the Renewable Energy Growth Program is expected to begin accepting applications this summer. The program will replace the distributed generation pilot program and establish a 160-megawatt, five-year program (four times the size of the current program) to encourage deployment of a variety of distributed generation technologies. The new program will further benefit ratepayers by encouraging the downward trend in renewable energy prices seen since the inception of the 2011 program.

“The Renewable Energy Growth Program strengthens the tremendous momentum of renewable energy in Rhode Island and across New England,” said Zaid Ashai, Chief Executive Officer of Nexamp. “More clean energy will not only benefit ratepayers, but will also directly stimulate job growth in the Ocean State.  Nexamp applauds the Assembly and the PUC for their continued leadership, and intends to match their commitment with corresponding increases in investment for our expanding Rhode Island solar portfolio.”

“The development of the Renewable Energy Growth program has been a model of policymaker, non-profit, and stakeholder cooperation.  The resulting program provides affordable renewable energy access to a larger pool of consumers, while simultaneously benefiting the electric utility,” said Eric Martin of Newport Solar. “This program will encourage the growth of the renewable energy industry in Rhode Island, creating substantial employment opportunities and environmental benefits.”

A report released by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and Commerce RI last year shows that distributed renewable energy generation has the potential to make a positive impact on Rhode Island’s economy. The study found that the renewable energy programs, like the REG Program, would result in nearly 250 net jobs and a net increase in average annual economic output of over $30 million. Over the next 25 years, this results in over half a billion dollars in economic output (net present value), according to the study conducted by The Brattle Group.

About NECEC (New England Clean Energy Council and NECEC Institute)

NECEC is a regional non-profit clean energy business, policy and innovation organization whose mission is to accelerate the region’s clean energy economy to global leadership by building an active community of stakeholders and a world-class cluster of companies. NECEC works with clean energy businesses and entrepreneurs, policymakers and other stakeholders in the clean energy sector in New England and the Northeast through programs and initiatives that advance clean energy markets and help clean energy businesses access the resources they need to grow.

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