The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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Amanda Barker

Policy Associate

Rhode Island Must Get Serious About Decarbonizing Buildings

The Act on Climate is one of the strongest climate policies in the nation, mandating that Rhode Island reduce its emissions 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. However, the law is not self-implementing. For the state to meet these targets, it must implement additional policies, especially in the building sector, which accounts for nearly 40% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Despite this significant contribution to GHGs, Rhode Island lacks a clear, actionable plan to decarbonize buildings.

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Support the Rhode island Building Decarbonization Act!

UPDATE JUNE 6 2024: The Building Decarbonization Act urgently needs your help to pass in the House!

Call the Governor & Speaker:

Please take action by calling Governor McKee and Speaker Shekarchi’s offices before Friday, June 14! Speak to a staff member, or leave a message. They will be tallying your calls!

Governor McKee's office: (401) 222-2080 

Speaker Shekarchi's office: (401) 222-2447

Here's what to say:

"Hello, my name is [Name], and I live in [City/Town], RI.  I am calling to ask Speaker Shekarchi to support the Building Decarbonization Act (H-7617, and S-2952) and sign it into law this session." 

 


 

There are weeks not months left in Rhode Island’s 2024 legislative session, which means we must act urgently to pass crucial legislation for climate. 

This year, our top priority is the Building Decarbonization Act (H7617/S2952), as Rhode Island is not currently on track to achieve the emissions reductions required by the Act on Climate, and that is especially true in the building sector which makes up over a third of the state's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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Offshore Wind Critical to Preservation of a Livable & Equitable Future

The climate crisis demands a fundamental cultural shift in our energy system. Revolution Wind 1 and the South Fork Wind projects off Rhode Island’s coast meet a critical need for large-scale carbon-free electricity generation in the Northeast. Two stewards of historic and cultural structures, the Preservation Society of Newport County and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation, recently positioned their organizations at odds with these projects in a group of appeals that cite alleged impacts to ocean views.

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RGGI’s Third Program Review: Charting a Path Towards Zero?

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-invest program among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector, is currently undergoing its third program review. This means the participating states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, are collectively examining the successes, impacts, and design of their CO2 budget trading programs, and considering updates to the program design. We see this third program review as a real opportunity to strengthen RGGI in a way that would significantly and equitably drive down power sector emissions and have been following the process closely. We have been told that the process will conclude by the end of the year. Here is what we know:

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What’s Needed in Rhode Island Energy EV Filing

We have been attending Rhode Island Energy’s (RIE’s) quarterly Power Sector Transformation sessions for a few years to learn about and advise on electrification initiatives in the state. At the most recent session, we learned that Rhode Island plans to submit an Electric Vehicle Program Filing with the PUC this Fall. Given that transportation is the largest source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the state, RIE’s EV programming will be a key piece of Rhode Island’s approach to meeting the emissions reduction mandate of the Act on Climate. Recognizing this important role, we submitted this memoto key stakeholders detailing what we think RIE EV programs must include to result in adequate emissions reductions. Below are our four main points:

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Staying the Path Towards Offshore Wind in New England

There has been a lot of news about offshore wind in New England lately. First, some good news: Vineyard Wind 1, an 800MW project contracted with Massachusetts, is currently under construction and expected to be up and running by the end of the year. The project is expected to produce enough power for more than 400,000 homes and create approximately 3,600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) job years. In Rhode Island news, The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)for Revolution Wind 1, a 704MW project with 400MW contracted with RI and 304MW contracted with CT. This FEIS is the second to last step before final approval, which is expected by the end of the summer.

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Rhode Island Must Increase its Capacity to Make Climate Progress

Rhode Island has committed to combating climate change by adopting one of the strongest climate policies in the nation: An Act on Climate, committing the state to 45% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. While Rhode Island is at the forefront of aggressive climate policy, it is not alone. California, New York, and Massachusetts all have similar emissions reductions targets and the ultimate goal of net zero by 2050. The difference is that these states have all backed up their commitment by making budgetary allocations for decarbonization. Rhode Island has just recently taken a modest step towards funding its decarbonization efforts.

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Victory in New Building Decarbonization at the Eleventh Hour!

Late into the last night (early morning on June 16, actually) of session, the RI General Assembly passed S855 Sub A requiring the RI building code commission to adopt the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) within 3 months of its publication, which is expected this Fall. Rhode Island is now set to become the first state to adopt the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This legislation was one of Green Energy Consumers’ top priorities this legislative session, especially since the state currently uses only the 2018 IECC with weakening amendments. Adopting this code will mean that new buildings in Rhode Island will be more energy efficient and have much lower emissions than ever before.

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