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Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Renewable Energy Standard   

Last DSIRE Review: 02/06/2015
Program Overview:
State: Rhode Island
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Biodiesel, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Investor-Owned Utility, Retail Supplier
Standard:14.5% by 2019
Technology Minimum:No
Credit Trading:Yes (NEPOOL-GIS)
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
R.I. Gen. Laws § 39-26-1 et seq.
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
CRIR 90-060-015
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Expiration Date:
H.B. 7727
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
R.I. Gen. Laws § 39-26.1 et seq.

NOTE: In December 2014, the PUC (Docket No. 4404) decided to delay the 1.5% increase in RES for 2015 by one year, thus reducing the RES traget from 16% to 14.5% by 2019. 

Rhode Island's Renewable Energy Standard (RES), established in June 2004, requires the state's retail electricity providers -- including non-regulated power producers and distribution companies -- to supply 16% of their retail electricity sales from renewable resources by the end of 2019. The requirement began at 3% by the end of 2007, and then increases an additional 0.5% per year through 2010, an additional 1% per year from 2011 through 2014, and an additional 1.5% per year from 2015 through 2019.* In 2014, the PUC reviewed the adequacy of renewable energy suppliers to meet the increase in percentage requirement of RPS for 2015 and decided to delay the scheduled annual increase of 1.5%. For 2015, RES obligated entities are now required to obtain 8.5% percentage (same as for 2014) of electricity sold from eligible renewable resources. This order resulted in delay of all subsequent increase in RPS goals by one year, thus decreasing the original 2019 target of 16% to 14.5%.  

RES Target by compliance year

Compliance Year Total % Target Minimum % from New Renewable Energy Resources % from either New or Existing Resources
2007 3.00% 1.00% 2.00%
2008 3.50% 1.50% 2.00%
2009 4.00% 2.00% 2.00%
2010 4.50% 2.50% 2.00%
2011 5.50% 3.50% 2.00%
2012 6.50% 4.50% 2.00%
2013 7.50% 5.50% 2.00%
2014 8.50% 6.50% 2.00%
2015 8.50% 6.50% 2.00%
2016 10% 8.00% 2.00%
2017 11.50% 9.50% 2.00%
2018 13.00% 11.00% 2.00%
2019 14.50% 12.50% 2.00%
2020 14.50% 12.50% 2.00%
Eligible technologies:

Eligible renewable resources include:

  • Direct solar radiation
  • Wind
  • Movement or the latent heat of the ocean
  • The earth's heat
  • Hydroelectric facilities up to 30 megawatts (MW) in capacity
  • Biomass facilities using eligible biomass fuels and maintaining compliance with current air permits (eligible biomass fuels may be co-fired with fossil fuels, provided that only the renewable-energy portion of production from multi-fuel facilities will be considered eligible)
  • Fuel cells using renewable resource


For each obligated entity and in each compliance year, and for the purposes of meeting the RES, the amount of retail electricity sales derived from eligible renewable resources initially placed into commercial operation before December 31, 1997, may not exceed 2% of total retail electricity sales. Compliance with the RES may also be achieved through the purchase of New England Power Pool Generation Information System (NEPOOL-GIS) certificates or by making an alternative compliance payment of $64.02 per megawatt-hour (2012) to the state's Renewable Energy Development Fund. Voluntary green-power purchases may not be counted toward RES compliance. Annual compliance reports are available on the PUC web site shown above.

Long-term contracts:

A separate and distinct standard established in June 2009 ("Long-Term Contracting Standard for Renewable Energy") requires electric distribution companies to solicit proposals and enter into long-term contracts for capacity, energy and attributes from new renewable energy facilities. Electric distribution companies will be required to enter into long-term contracts for 90 MW in capacity by 2014, of which 3 MW must come from in-state solar facilities. Distribution companies will be required to meet the following annual benchmarks, provided acceptable, commercially reasonable proposals have been received:

  • 22.5 MW contracted by 12/30/2010 (25% of the total required amount)
  • 45 MW contracted by 12/30/2011 (50% of the total required amount)
  • 67.5 MW contracted by 12/30/2012 (75% of the total required amount), and
  • 90 MW contracted by 12/30/2013 (100% of the requirement).

Beginning of 2014, the electric distribution companies (EDCs) shall conduct solicitations until 100% of the minimum long term contract capacity is met, however if the contract price is above the forecasted market price of the renewable energy certificates and energy over the term of the contract then the EDCs may choose to acquire environmental attributes and energy instead of capacity contract.

Each long-term contract must be reviewed and approved by the PUC. All energy and capacity purchased must be sold immediately by the distribution company into the wholesale spot market. Or, with PUC approval, the distribution company may re-sell the energy and capacity to customers. The NEPOOL-GIS certificates purchased under the long-term contract must be sold through a competitive bid process, or with PUC approval, may be used to meet the distribution company's RES obligations.

* RES increases in 2011 and subsequent years are subject to the PUC's findings.

  Public Information - SEO
Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
One Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5890
Phone: (401) 574-9100
Fax: (401) 574-9125
Web Site:
NCSU - home
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 2014 - 2015 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.