House passes 100% renewable electricity bill

THE RHODE ISLAND HOUSE on Tuesday approved legislation requiring energy companies to hit 100% renewable electricity by 2033. Pictured is the Block Island Wind Farm, which will be one of the key sources of renewable energy needed to help the state meet this goal./ COURTESY ORSTED U.S. OFFSHORE WIND

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island is ramping up its requirements for renewable electricity, with a bill approved in the House on Tuesday mandating 100% renewable electricity by 2033.

Having already been approved in the Senate, the House’s passage – under a 56-13 vote – all but guarantees the legislation will reach the desk of Gov. Daniel J. McKee, who has also indicated his support for renewable electricity in his Rhode Island 2030 plan.

Once signed, the law will enshrine a 2020 executive order enacted under former Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, calling for the state to aggressively increase its renewable electricity sources to meet its ambitious decarbonization goals.

“This bill supports renewable energy growth, and is consistent with the Act on Climate’s goal of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050,” said State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, D-Jamestown, who sponsored the bill. “In addition to reducing emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels that must be brought to Rhode Island from other places, creating renewable energy supports the green industry, creating thousands of good paying jobs right here in Rhode Island. 

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The bill does not necessarily mean all of the state’s electric power will come from renewable sources, but rather mandates that energy companies have to buy credits or pay into a fund to offset 100% of their fossil fuel use. 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.

Last year, the Senate passed similar legislation sponsored by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, D-North Providence, but the House version never made it to a floor vote.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. Contact her at

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