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Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF)   

Last DSIRE Review: 12/10/2014
Program Overview:
State: Rhode Island
Incentive Type: Public Benefits Fund
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Unspecified Technologies
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Co-firing, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Utility, Institutional
Types:Demand-side management (DSM), renewables, low-income energy assistance
Charge:Renewables: $0.0003 per kWh (0.3 mills per kWh)
Demand-side management (DSM): determined by utilities (with PUC approval)
Web Site: http://www.riedc.com/business-services/renewable-energy
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
R.I. Gen. Laws ยง 39-2-1.2
8/7/1996 (subsequently amended)
1/1/1997
Authority 2:
Date Effective:
2014-2016 RIEDC Rules and Regulations for the Renewable Energy Development Fund
01/09/2014
Summary:

Rhode Island's Public Utilities Restructuring Act of 1996 created the nation's first public benefits fund (PBF) for renewable energy and demand-side management (DSM). The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund's (RIREF) renewable-energy component is administered by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI) formely known as the Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), and the fund's demand-side management (DSM) programs are administered by the state's electric and gas distribution companies, subject to review by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Rhode Island's PBF is supported by a surcharge on electric and gas customers' bills. Initially, the surcharge was was set at $0.0023 per kilowatt-hour (2.3 mills per kWh) and applied only to electric utilities. That funding supported both renewables and DSM programs. The law was amended in 2002 by establishing separate surcharges for renewables and DSM. The adjusted surcharge for renewables -- set at $0.0003 (0.3 mills) per kWh -- and the adjusted surcharge for DSM programs -- set at $0.002 (2.0 mills) per kWh -- was initially scheduled to remain in effect for 10 years, beginning January 1, 2003. The annual budget for the renewables fund during this 10-year period was approximately $2.4 million. Beginning January 1, 2007, Rhode Island's gas-distribution utilities were required to include a surcharge of up to $0.15 per decatherm delivered. Legislation enacted in May 2011 (H.B. 5281) removed the specific surcharge amounts for electric and gas DSM programs. The PUC and utilities will determine appropriate surcharges. The bill also extended the duration of the overall fund to January 1, 2018.

Per the most recent amendments to the program, the RIREF supports four program areas: Small-Scale Solar, Commercial Development, Pre-Development Feasibility Studies, and Early Stage Commercialization. Each of the program areas are allocated minimum of 20% of the REF's income. Renewable-energy systems eligible for support from the RIREF include facilities in the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) control area that generate electricity using solar, solar thermal, solar space-heating, wind, wave, tidal, ocean-thermal, geothermal, hydro or sustainably-managed biomass resources. In addition, co-firing systems are eligible for funding, as well as fuel cells and microturbines using renewable fuels. Projects and activities directly related to implementing eligible renewable-energy projects in Rhode Island also are eligible.

H.B. 7806 (2008) directed the RIEDC to integrate and coordinate the state's renewable-energy policies -- including the RIREF, the Rhode Island Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and the state's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) policy -- more effectively. For more information, see the RIEDC's 5-Year Strategic Plan (2009-2013) for the RIREF.

History

Legislation (H.B. 7806) enacted in July 2008 authorized the RIEDC to integrate and coordinate the state's renewable-energy policies more effectively. This law required the RIEDC to create the Municipal Renewable Energy Investment Program, using the lesser of 50% or $1 million collected annually from the 0.3 mill per kWh surcharge for renewable-energy programs. This program provided grants of up to $500,000 per project for municipal renewable-energy projects. The RIEDC created a second grant program, the Nonprofit Affordable Housing Renewable Energy Investment Program, using the lesser of 10% or $200,000 collected annually from the 0.3 mill per kWh surcharge for renewables programs. In addition, the rules established by RIEDC provided funding (around $200,000 per year) to support pre-development consultant and technical feasibility studies. These programs took effect January 1, 2009, but these sections of the law were repealed in June 2012.


 
Contact:
  Public Information - PUC
Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission
89 Jefferson Blvd.
Warwick, RI 02888
Phone: (401) 941-4500 Ext.121
Fax: (401) 222-2883
Web Site: http://www.ripuc.state.ri.us
 
  Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 278-9100
E-Mail: info@commerceri.com
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.