The “Ocean State” Sets 100% Renewable Energy Goal By 2030…. But Is The Goal Possible?

State Economy

The population of the “Ocean State,”  Rhode Island is approximately 1.11 million people[1]. Rhode Island is the 45th most populated state in in the United States.

In 2022, Rhode Island’s economy was ranked 44th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the fishing, agriculture, textile, financial services, and tourism industries[3].

Environmental Policies

In 2004. Rhode Island enacted a Renewable Energy Standard[4], requiring state utilities to generate 38.5% of all electricity sales from renewable energy by 2035.

In 2007, Rhode Island joined Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a market-based collaborative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2020, Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order committing Rhode Island to be powered by 100% renewable electricity by year-end 2030.

Power Generation Capabilities

In December 2022, utilities used natural gas (88.7 %) and renewable energy (11.3 %) to generate electricity in Rhode Island[5]. Solar, biomass, and wind are the types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Rhode Island.

In December 2022, the average cost for residential electricity in Rhode Island was 27.50¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 14.96 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Rhode Island include:

  • 400 MW Offshore Wind Project – Danish power company Ørsted and Connecticut electric utility, Eversource are continuing work on the Revolution Wind project at a site approximately 15 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2025.
  • 4 MW Solar Project – In October 2021, New Jersey company, Nautilus Solar Energy commissioned a solar project on a contaminated landfill located approximately 9 miles southwest of the state capital, Providence.
  • 3 MW Energy Storage Project – In June 2022, Massachusetts solar company, Agilitas Energy commissioned a lithium-ion battery storage project at a site approximately 15 miles northwest of Providence.
  • Offshore Wind Port – In September 2022, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee broke ground on the South Quay offshore wind port project which is being built to support an offshore wind turbine projects in the region. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2026.


The first offshore wind farm in the United States was commissioned in the state waters of Rhode Island in 2016. However, Rhode Island has commissioned few utility scale renewable energy projects, since the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm.

In December 2022, Rhode Island used natural gas, a fossil fuel to generate 88.7 % of the state’s electricity. However, Rhode Island has legislated that all utilities use 100 % renewable energy to generate electricity by 2030!

The commissioning of offshore Revolution Wind project by year-end 2025 will only increase the state’s percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources to less than 32%. It is highly unlikely that Rhode Island’s electric utilities can achieve the 100% renewable energy mandate within the next 93 months.

States that are actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions are first developing a comprehensive plan to a achieve a green power grid, before implementing legislation. State’s must learn to investigate before they legislate.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.


[1] Rhode Island Population 2023, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Rhode Island – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Rhode Island State Profile and Energy Estimates

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