Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, R-R.I., went before the state's Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture to speak in support of S.2819, An Act Relating to Public Utilities Commission – Contracting Standards for Renewable Energy.
During his testimony before the committee and in a letter entered into the record, Carcieri expressed his ‘unqualified support’ for the legislation and called for swift passage of the legislation.
In 2009, the General Assembly passed, and Carcieri signed into law, long-term contracting legislation to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects. The legislation also required Rhode Island's electric distribution company to enter into long-term contracts, making it possible for developers to secure the financing necessary to developing this promising industry.
Key to the state's economic development and renewable energy agenda was the proposed Block Island Demonstration Wind Project. The governor discussed the economic benefits to the state in being the first in the nation to develop an offshore wind project.
‘The opportunity to be the first state in the nation to construct an offshore wind farm presents significant advantages to our state, including attracting the jobs and investment dollars of offshore wind turbine manufacturers and related businesses,’ said Carcieri. ‘We have not lost this opportunity yet, but are at risk of doing so unless this legislation is enacted. I believe this project – a $200 million investment of private capital – will be a catalyst for a multibillion-dollar industry.’
The governor pointed to the section of S.2819 that addresses the concern over pricing by mandating an ‘open-book’ to provide a maximum level of transparency to the Block Island project that should result in savings to the state's ratepayers.
Governor Carcieri also touched upon the approval process outlined in S.2819, citing it as ‘robust.’ The legislation requires that four state agencies review the power purchase agreement and certify it to be in the public interest.