Rhode Island


  • Completed: Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm, a 30 MW project, began operation in early November, 2016. Deepwater Wind is the project's developer. The Deepwater Wind project has negotiated a 20-year PPA with National Grid. It qualified for the ITC with the purchase and delivery of its 15 turbine blades from the manufacturer, Alstom.
  • Under Development

    Deepwater Wind was the winner of BOEM’s first competitive lease sale for renewable energy. BOEM auctioned two leases in the MA/RI Wind Energy Area, totaling 164,750 acres. Deepwater plans to develop Deepwater ONE, a 150-200 turbine project with an approximate nameplate capacity of 900-1200 MW. Deepwater has proposed supplying more than 200 MW to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) by 2018; the proposal was submitted in response to a LIPA request for proposal for 280 MW of renewable peaking power.

Policy, Planning, & Regulations

  • Energy Demand/Incentives:   Rhode Island's renewable energy standard (RES)(link is external), enacted in 2016, requires electric utility providers within the state to supply 38.5% of their retail sales from renewable resources by 2035.   A 2009 law(link is external) requires energy distributors in Rhode Island (i.e. National Grid) to sign 10- to 15-year contracts to buy up to 150 MW from utility-scale offshore wind energy facilities developed off the coast of Rhode Island. The contracts must be “commercially reasonable,” defined as consistent with projects of similar size, technology, and location, and likely to provide economic and environmental benefits. Utilities may enter into 20-year contracts that are commercially reasonable. National Grid, which serves nearly all of Rhode Island, has complied with the Standard and has executed a PPA with Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW Block Island proposed project. The base price is 24.4 cents per kWh, with a 3.5% annual escalation.  
  • Coastal & Ocean Management Planning:  In October 2010, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) released its Ocean Special Areas Management Plan (SAMP) to identify areas within state waters appropriate for offshore renewable energy projects, and to provide an offshore development regulatory framework. The Plan serves as a management and regulatory tool for developing and protecting the state’s ocean-based resources. The Coastal Resources Management Council, along with the University of Rhode Island, performed the study and prepared the report. The plan became the first in the nation to zone offshore waters for various activities, including offshore renewable energy development. The plan maps existing uses, critical zones, transportation and shipping corridors, critical habitats, etc. In addition, it lays out regulatory standards for guiding renewable energy development and protecting ocean resources. The planning process examined suitable offshore areas for offshore wind energy development and identified two areas for potential offshore wind energy development.
  • Regional Offshore Wind Initiatives:  R·         Rhode Island and Massachusetts signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in July 2010 to pledge their commitment to coordinate and collaborate in the permitting and development of offshore wind energy projects in the area of mutual interest in Rhode Island Sound. BOEM auctioned two leases in the MA/RI Wind Energy Area, totaling 164,750 acres. Deepwater Wind won the competitive auction and plans to develop Deepwater ONE, a 150-200 turbine project with an approximate nameplate capacity of 900-1200 MW. 
  • Regional Ocean Management Planning:  Rhode Island is a member of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC).
  • Regional Electricity Transmission Planning:  Rhode Island’s electricity transmission is coordinated by the Independent System Operator- New England (ISO-NE) regional power grid, which is a member of the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC).

Supporting & Complementary Assets/Infrastructure

  • Supply Chain:  The Rhode Island Economic Development Council (RIEDC) aims to make Quonset Business Park/Davisville a staging area for offshore wind energy construction activities. The port includes deep-water capacity and two piers with sufficient length and load bearing capacity to accommodate offshore wind vessels and hold the weight of large components.

Economic Fundamentals

  • Population: 1.1 million (0.3% of US, 2016)¹
  • Population change (2010-2016): 0.3%²
  • Civilian labor force:  0.6 million (0.3% of US, 2017)¹
  • Median hourly wage (all occupations):  $19.10 (2016)³
  • State corporate income tax rate:  7.00% (2017)⁴
  • Per capita personal income:  $51,576 (17th in US, 2016)¹
  • Residential electricity prices:  16..95 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Commercial electricity prices:  13.87 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Industrial electricity prices:  14.09 cents/kWh (2017)¹
  • Total energy production: 4 trillion Btu (0.0% of US, 2015)¹
  • Net electricity generation:  485 thousand MWh (0.2% of US, 2017)¹
  • Total energy consumption per capita:  192 million Btu (50th in US, 2015)¹
  • Carbon dioxide emissions:  2,874 thousand metric tons (0.1% of US, 2015)¹
  • Sulfur dioxide emissions:  0 thousand metric tons (0.0% of US, 2015)¹
  • Nitrogen dioxide emissions: 1 thousand metric tons (0.1% of US, 2015)¹
  • Total estimated technical offshore wind potential generation: 60,363 GWh/yr (0.8% of US, 2016)⁵

References:  U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA)¹; U.S. Census Bureau²; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)³; Tax Foundation; and, U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)