Energy News Today

Vetoed solar bill could have cost Rhode Island ratepayers $54 million+

PROVIDENCE — How much money could Rhode Islanders have been on the hook for if Gov. Dan McKee had not vetoed a bill that shifted some of the costs of solar and wind projects from developers to electric ratepayers

An estimate in the near term is $54.7 million, according to emails released by state regulators in response to a records request from The Journal. And numbers of a similar magnitude could have recurred in the longer term if the current pace of renewable energy development were to continue, according to utility National Grid. 

Cynthia Wilson-Frias, a lawyer for the state Public Utilities Commission, came up with the $54-million figure after totaling the costs of transmission upgrades for six renewable energy projects that currently have agreements with National Grid to connect to the regional power system.  

Some of the solar panels that make up a solar farm

“This amount doesn’t cover all projects in the queue for which studies have not been completed,” she wrote in an email to McKee’s office, citing one possible impact of the legislation, “and also doesn’t project whether there would be additional large projects as a result of the removal of a significant price signal.” 

She sent the email on July 1 after Victoria Scott, policy adviser to the governor, asked for potential costs of the bill. Five days later, McKee vetoed the measure, saying it would transfer tens of millions in costs to connect renewable energy projects to the energy grid. 

Read More: Vetoed solar bill could have cost Rhode Island ratepayers $54 million+

2021-07-17 04:19:01

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