Rhode Island continues to invest RGGI proceeds to deploy clean energy resources throughout the state and drive associated economic and job growth throughout its local economy. These investments are supporting both public and private sector institutions, and local residents, adopt cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions that can reduce energy costs, mitigate energy price volatility, and reduce carbon footprints.
In 2014, Rhode Island utilized its RGGI proceeds to support cost-effective energy efficiency resources and the integration of renewable energy projects throughout the local grid. For example, Rhode Island began investing funds allocated in 2012 for the Rhode Island Public Energy Partnership (RIPEP), a three-year competitive grant from the USDOE. RIPEP is a precedent-setting collaboration to achieve deep energy savings in municipal, school and state facilities. Funds were used for rebates and on-bill repayment to support project implementation. Also, Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) awarded RGGI-supported grants to Rhode Island public and private schools (K-12) to support their adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
RGGI funds were also allocated to the state’s primary electric utility, National Grid, to provide energy efficiency rebates to homes heated with deliverable fuels (oil and propane). Use of the funds for efficiency services to this sector captures electricity savings (including potentially significant savings from oil-heated homes with air conditioners) and achieves reductions in carbon emissions associated with more efficient use of delivered fuels.
Funds were also invested in energy efficiency programs dedicated to community buildings. These not-for-profit organizations typically do not have funds available for their portion of energy efficiency project costs. These supplemental incentives enabled projects that would not have otherwise been completed due to lack of customer funds.
The OER has also invested funds to jump-start a farm-specific energy efficiency program. Funds were used to support comprehensive energy audits for pilot farms ranging from dairy to greenhouse operations. These pilot audits will provide OER and the Utility with a better understanding of farmer needs and farm-specific energy efficiency opportunities.
Finally, funds were also invested in:
Rhode Island Solarize campaign: Solarize is a targeted marketing and education campaign aimed at increasing the adoption of small-scale solar across the state.
Evaluation, measurement and verification study of ductless mini-split heat pumps.
Pilot study to explore how distributed solar photovoltaics can provide value to Rhode Island’s electric grid.
Program Highlight: Renewable and Efficiency Projects at Rhode Island Schools
OER awarded $1.16 M to local public and private schools to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at Rhode Island schools. Three school districts were awarded grants totaling $538,000 for energy efficiency projects and four schools were awarded $622,250 in grants to install photovoltaic systems. Each awardee was required to have an educational component for the students at the school.