Energy LawEffects of Renewable Energy Regulations and Recent Executive Order

February 12, 20200

Renewable energy regulations push for reducing emissions on a statewide basis. Many states are opting to mandate a certain amount of energy from renewable sources by a given deadline. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s January 17, 2020 Executive Order calls for the state to use 100% renewable energy to meet Rhode Island’s electricity demand, by 2030. To meet this goal, the order requires a market analysis and an action plan by the end of 2020.

Blue Economy and Competing Uses

The Boston Globe reported on the state’s “emerging blue economy,” which is a term for the collective economic activities related to the ocean. The blue economy is based on human activity in a natural space. This includes activities “such as offshore wind projects, tourism, marine industries, and the University of Rhode Island oceanography program,” according to the Boston Globe article.

Importantly, there are various conflicting uses in the ocean. Entities in the marine/maritime industry, as well as marine recreation and tourism, are large pieces of Rhode Island’s economy. Let’s also not forget commercial fishing! Proposals for renewable energy regulations related to offshore wind have the power to push for big changes. These projects can conflict with the historical uses of ocean space, too. Therefore, it will be important for Rhode Island to manage uses appropriately. The state is required to implement the Coastal Zone Management Act through the state Coastal Resources Management Council. Through regulation,the state must balance all user interests while adhering to renewable energy regulations resulting from the Governor’s Executive Order.

If the Governor’s action plan leads to new renewable energy regulations, offshore wind would certainly be part of the equation. However, smaller projects by businesses and individuals or families would be subject to the regulations as well. There are various laws and renewable energy regulations involved in overseeing wind and solar projects. The oversight occurs often at both the state and federal levels.

Individual Projects

A description of the laws in RI can be found in the state’s energy plan, Energy 2035, starting on page 77. However, the state also encourages individuals’ use of renewable energy. For example, “going solar,” with incentives for your home, business, community, or farm (such as net metering or federal tax credits). These incentives cover up to 25% of the cost of the installed system. But the incentives are generally only available if your system is eligible.

Permits for different renewable energy projects may be required from the state, the federal government, or both. Businesses and individuals must be sure to meet all of the permitting process requirements. Otherwise, these projects may face delays. Individual and business projects will assist the state in meeting its goal to meet electricity demand using only renewable energy by 2030 by shifting consumer consumption habits.

The attorneys at Desautel Browning Law have collectively learned a lot from past projects and permitting processes. The weighing of pros and cons of a project often happens too late. This delay can be costly. On an individual level, weighing the pros and cons of new renewable energy projects is easy, with the right assistance. If renewable energy regulations and laws control your planned project in Rhode Island, speak with us first!

Call us today at 401.477.0023. We can educate you about various regulatory considerations, as well as the laws and regulations that might apply.

Leave a Reply