FOR MORE INFORMATION: Bronte Payne, 617-747-4327
Providence, Rhode Island – Speeding development of offshore wind, for which Rhode Island has vast potential, could cut vast amounts of pollution. Carbon pollution equal to that produced by as many as 384,097 cars could be eliminated by 2020 with a moderate growth in wind power off the coast of Rhode Island, a new report from Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center said today.
Using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the report shows that as much as 1,000 MW of wind power could be built off the state’s coast in the next five years with the right policies in place, enough to power 344,566 homes.
“Wind power here in Rhode Island can grow steadily, reducing pollution and helping to solve the climate crisis,” said Bronte Payne, clean energy associate on behalf of Environment Rhode Island. “But we need government policies to provide steady support for this clean energy resource to build our momentum in the fight against global warming.”
The analysis is timed with what’s become an annual tradition in Congress: waiting until the last minute to renew critical tax incentives for clean energy. The credits, which have helped spur wind power’s growth over the last two decades, expired at the end of last year, and any measure to reinstate them must be adopted before Congress adjourns for the year on December 18.
“Environment America’s report shows that wind energy can dramatically cut carbon emissions that cause climate change,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). “Rhode Island is leading the way in producing offshore pollution-free energy, while reducing costs for consumers. That’s why I strongly support tax incentives for energy companies that provide clean, renewable electricity. It’s a win for the environment and a win for the American economy.”
Rhode Island has been a national leader in offshore wind. This year marked a major milestone in the pursuit of offshore wind, with the first project under construction off the coast of Rhode Island. The five turbine Block Island Wind Farm will produce 30 MW of wind energy, according to Deepwater Wind.
Wind power produced across the U.S. since 2001 has displaced more than 764 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – more than a year’s worth of carbon emissions from the entire country of Canada.
“We’re proud that the Ocean State is home to America’s first offshore wind farm, and we’re confident this project is just the start of something much bigger,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. “The waters off the East Coast are home to some of the country’s best offshore wind resources, and harnessing this potential will help protect our environment and transform our country’s energy future.”
The report, Turning to the Wind, comes as state officials determine how to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action that sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from power plants and encourages clean energy development.
“Our state and our region are seeing a rapid shift away from dirty fossil fuels toward clean, renewable energy, and offshore wind is paramount to that transition,” said Tricia K. Jedele, Director of Conservation Law Foundation’s Rhode Island Advocacy Center. “Wind is unlimited, boundless and carbon-free, and by harnessing its power we can protect our environment and grow our economy. Rhode Island is a national model for what can be achieved with the right policies in place, and we need continued commitments from state and federal leaders to replicate our success throughout the United States."
As world leaders meet in Paris to hammer out an international agreement to slash climate-changing emissions, environmental advocates said wind power should play a critical role.
“To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Bronte Payne, “and that must include doing everything we can to develop abundant, pollution-free wind power.”
Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center is statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.