McKee signs 100% renewable electricity bill into law

GOV. DANIEL J. MCKEE on Wednesday signed into law the legislation requiring the state to generate or pay the equivalent of 100% renewable electricity by 2033. / AP FILE PHOTO / STEVEN SENNE

PROVIDENCE – Landmark legislation making Rhode Island the first state nationwide to require 100% renewable electricity within the next decade was signed into law Wednesday, Gov. Daniel J. McKee’s office announced.

McKee’s signature makes official the aggressive state mandate, which updates the state’s renewable electricity targets, with the ultimate goal of having all electricity generated from renewable sources or otherwise offset through credits or payments made by utility companies. 

As written, the current benchmark of 19% renewable electricity will increase exponentially over the next 10 years, beginning with a 4% jump in 2023, to hit 100% by 2033.

“Today’s historic legislation outlines a firm 10-year commitment to achieve our climate change mitigation goals, giving Rhode Island the most ambitious renewable energy standard in the nation,” McKee said in a statement. “When it comes to clean energy innovation, Rhode Island has the momentum and the tools to build on it.” 

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The law enshrines a 2020 executive order from former Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. State lawmakers sought to pass legislation codifying the order in 2021, which passed in the Senate under sponsorship of Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, D-North Providence, but failed to advance in the House.

This year, lawmakers took another crack and the identical bills sailed through both chambers.

Environmental advocates lauded the proposal as a key component of achieving other state renewable energy mandates, including the 2021 Act on Climate law, which calls for the state to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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