A rapid transition to renewable energy sources is going to be a key factor in determining whether global temperatures are kept from rising the 2 degrees C limit that even conservative estimates agree is acceptable. One of the best ways to encourage continued growth in the renewable sector is to provide a variety of smart tax credits to people who pursue renewable energy projects. Before it was discontinued in 2010 the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit successfully incentivized over a hundred small scale projects. These projects cost an average total of $150,000 in tax revenue per year, but they paid for themselves many times over with job creation and taxes generated by construction spending, plus the federal tax credit dollars that were brought into the State for each installation. We can expect the same economic benefits when the tax credit is restored.
You can help! Send a letter to your legislators requesting their support for this important legislation.
Smaller scale projects that distribute power generation across the electric grid are currently only being incentivized at the state level by a pilot distributed generation program, which the Chapter will be working to expand and make permanent. However, we are also going to need utility scale renewable projects to meet our total energy demand.
Along the East Coast, the best opportunities for utility scale renewable projects are offshore wind farms that can take advantage of the strong and reliable wind that is plentiful. Rhode Island is in a unique position to benefit economically from the birth of the US offshore wind industry. Indeed, the proposed Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) would be the first installation in the country.
The RI based renewable energy developer that is set to build the BIWF and have its turbines spinning in 2015, Deepwater Wind, is creating this first installation as a way to demonstrate the viability of an industry that has flourished around the globe. It will consist of five turbines that together will produce 30 Megawatts of electricity, enough to power all of Block Island and still send some back to the mainland. Since it is a small farm, the electricity that it produces will be costly, but the premium is neglible in comparison to the cost of the fossil fuel pollution it will offset and to the benefit of making RI the home of offshore wind. Looking beyond the Block Island project, Deepwater has already won the first ever auction to lease offshore areas for wind development and is planning a farm big enough to replace the energy provided by the Brayton Point Coal Plant and more.
It's exciting to think about the possibility of Rhode Island leading the way into the clean energy future that we so desperately need. You can help the Block Island Wind Farm become a reality by sending a support letter to state decision makers, CLICK RIGHT HERE.