Rhode Island/EZ Policies

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EZ Policies for Rhode Island

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Download EZ Policies for Rhode Island CSV (rows 1 - 53)

Policy Place Policy Type Active Implementing Sector Summary
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 13 - Particulate Emissions from Fossil Fuel Fired Steam or Hot Water Generating Units (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The purpose of this regulation is to limit emissions of particulate matter from fossil fuel fired and wood-fired steam or hot water generating units.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 1 - Visible Emissions (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The regulations state that no person shall emit into the atmosphere from any source any air contaminant for a period or periods aggregating more than three minutes in any one hour which is greater than or equal to 20 percent opacity.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 22 - Air Toxics (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province Permits are required to construct, install, or modify any stationary source which has the potential to increase emissions of a listed toxic air contaminant by an amount greater than the minimum quantity for that contaminant. Minimum quantities are specified in Table III of these regulations. Permits will be granted based in part on the impact of the projected emissions of the stationary source on acceptable ambient levels for the relevant contaminant(s), as specified in Table I of these regulations.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 3 - Particulate Emissions from Industrial Processes (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations limit particulate emissions into the atmosphere by process weight per hour, where process weight is the total weight of all materials introduced into any specific process which may cause any emissions of particulate matter into the atmosphere. The regulations contain a table to aid emissions calculations.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 43 - General Permits for Smaller-Scale Electric Generation Facilities (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This rule applies to any generator that: (a) has a heat input capacity of 350,000 Btus or more per hour or, in the case of internal combustion engines, is 50 HP or larger; and, (b) is not subject to or would not cause a facility to be subject to the RI major source permitting requirements. Generators whose engines are non-road engines will be exempt from compliance with the requirements of this rule. The regulations describe the permitting process, emissions standards, and monitoring requirements that must be met by these systems.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 46 & 47 - CO2 Budget Trading Program & Allowance Distribution (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province For the purposes of these regulations, CO2 budget units are defined as units that serve an electricity generator with nameplate capacity greater than or equal to 25 MWe. The regulations describe CO2 allowance allocations and transfers necessary to meet emissions standards.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 41 - Nox Budget Trading Program (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations No State/Province Repealed in 2014. These regulations establish a budget trading program for nitrogen oxide emissions, setting NOx budget units for generators and an NOx Allowance Tracking System to account for emissions. These regulations apply to units that serve generators with a nameplate capacity greater than 15 MWe and sell any amount of electricity, as well as to units that have a maximum design heat input greater than 250 mmBtu/hr. Units that possess federally enforceable permits may be exempt from these regulations.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 5 - Fugitive Dust (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations aim to prevent the release of fugitive dust by forbidding the handling, transportation, mining, quarrying, storing, or utilizing of materials in a way that will cause airborne particulate matter to travel beyond the property line of the emission source without taking adequate precautions to prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne. The regulations apply to activities including the construction, demolition, or renovation of buildings, bridges, or other structures; material stockpiles and earth moving activities, including land clearing; stationary sources whose activities involve the handling of materials which cause airborne particulate matter; exterior surface preparation or resurfacing operations; and others.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 6 - Continuous Emissions Monitors and Opacity Monitors (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Stationary sources, including fossil fuel fired steam or hot water generating units, may be required to install and operate a continuous emissions monitoring system equipped with an opacity monitor with audio alarm. The devices will be calibrated to sound the alarm at 20 percent opacity and operate continuously during fuel combustion. Data from the monitoring system will be reported to the Department of Environmental Management.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 7 - Emission of Air Contaminants Detrimental to Person or Property (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province No person shall emit any contaminant which either alone or in connection with other emissions, by reason of their concentration or duration, may be injurious to human, plant or animal life, or cause damage to property or which unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life and property. The criteria for determining compliance is listed in the regulations, and is based on other air pollution and ambient air standards.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No. 9 - Air Pollution Control Permits (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations describe permitting procedures and requirements for minor and major sources of emissions.
Air Pollution Control Regulations: No.27 - Control of Nitrogen Oxide Emissions (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations apply to stationary sources with the potential to emit 50 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per year from all pollutant-emitting equipment or activities. The regulations describe possibilities for exemptions (i.e., for sources which have the potential to emit 50 tons but do not actually reach that level) and Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) Plan Requirements for high NOx emitters.
Climate Action Plan (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Climate Policies Yes State/Province In the fall of 2001, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the RI State Energy Office (SEO), and the Governor's office convened the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Stakeholder Project in response to growing international agreement that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are warming the planet at a rapid rate. Reducing greenhouse gases can help reduce global warming — a major concern for Rhode Islanders because of its potential adverse impacts such as flooding in coastal areas, saltwater contamination of drinking water, extreme weather events, and damage to local crops. In July 2002, GHG stakeholders completed Phase 1 of the project with the publication of the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Action Plan. The Action Plan outlines programs and policies the state could undertake to meet its commitment under the New England Governors' and Eastern Canadian Provincial Premiers' (NEG/ECPP) Climate Change Action Plan, August 2001. The NEG/ECPP agreement aims to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, to at least 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and up to 85 percent below 1990 levels over the long term.
Commercial-Scale Renewable-Energy Grants (Rhode Island) Rhode Island State Grant Program Yes State/Territory The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) provides incentives for renewable-energy projects. Incentive programs are funded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF) and alternative compliance payments (ACPs) from the state’s renewable portfolios standard (RPS). Currently, the RIEDC provides grants for small-scale solar projects and direct funding for commercial-scale renewable-energy projects.

Grants are available for electricity-generating renewable-energy systems greater than 10 kilowatts (kW) but not greater than 50 kW. Grants will provide 20% of project funding, with a maximum award of $75,000 per individual project. Systems may be installed on businesses, institutions, non-profits, municipality property and affordable housing projects. The deadlines to submit complete applications are March 15, 2013; May 31, 2013; and August 30, 2013.

The following requirements apply to solar-electric projects:

  • A shade-analysis demonstrating no more than 20% predicted shading during the hours of one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.
  • A layout drawing of project.
  • A one-line electrical drawing.
  • An interconnection application submitted to National Grid.
  • Project payback using assumptions stated in the program guidelines
  • Manufacturer’s specifications for panels and inverter to be installed.
  • A photo of the project location taken from the south looking northward toward the building or site.
  • An aerial image of the site from Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google Earth, or similar source with the building or site clearly identified.
Separate requirements apply to wind-energy projects. Funding is also available to support early-stage commercialization and pre-development feasibility studies for renewable-energy projects. See the program rules and regulations for more information.
Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States) United States Grant Program
Loan Program
Yes Federal Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.
Distributed Generation Standard Contracts (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Performance-Based Incentive Yes State/Territory NOTE: The third enrollment period for standard contracts for 2014 closed on November 7.


Rhode Island enacted legislation (H.B. 6104) in June 2011 establishing a feed-in tariff for new distributed renewable energy generators up to three megawatts (MW) in capacity. The law requires electric distribution companies to enter into standard contracts for an aggregate capacity of at least 40 MW by the end of 2014. Standard contracts include a fixed payment rate and a 15-year term, and generally vary by generator capacity and type.


Eligible renewables include solar energy, wind energy, ocean-thermal energy, geothermal energy, small hydropower, biomass facilities that maintain compliance with current air permits,* and fuel cells using renewable resources. Separate classes have been established for “large” generators and “small” generators. Small generators include solar energy systems between 50 kilowatts (kW) and 500 kW, and wind energy systems between 50 kW and 1.5 MW. The Distributed Generation Standard Contract Board will determine capacity limits for other “small” systems, but limits may not exceed 1 MW. (The Board is authorized to modify this program in several ways, as specified in the authorizing legislation.) Payment rates vary by system size and type.


The contracting period is spread over four years. The following annual minimum targets for standard contracts have been established:


  • By December 30, 2011: 5 MW of aggregate capacity
  • By December 30, 2012: 20 MW of aggregate capacity
  • By December 30, 2013: 30 MW of aggregate capacity
  • By December 30, 2014: 40 MW of aggregate capacity

The Board must set ceiling prices by October 15 for the following calendar year. Each electric distribution company must conduct one standard contract enrollment period in 2011 and at least three enrollment periods in subsequent program years. Each enrollment period will be open for two weeks.


Eligible small and large projects will be assessed separately, and projects from each class will be awarded standard contracts based on the lowest proposed prices received. Eligible systems that are net-metered may apply to sell excess output.


* Waste-to-energy combustion systems are explicitly excluded.
Forestry Policies (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Rhode Island's forests cover over half of the state's land area, and are managed by the Department of Environmental Management, Division of Forest Environment. The State issued its "Forest Resources Assessment and Strategies" document in 2010( http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/bnatres/forest/pdf/assestra.pdf), which lays out the vision, goals, policies, and objectives. Among the myriad goals of the Forest Management Plan is the sustainable use of the forest, including commercial forest products.
Fuel Mix and Emissions Disclosure (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Generation Disclosure Yes State/Territory Rhode Island requires all entities that sell electricity in the state to disclose details regarding the fuel mix and emissions of their electric generation to end-use customers. This information must be provided to customers quarterly "in plain English." Electricity suppliers must also file a copy of their energy source disclosure labels with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission quarterly.
ISO New England Forward Capacity Market (Multiple States) Connecticut
Maine
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Vermont
Generating Facility Rate-Making Yes Non-Profit Under the Forward Capacity Market (FCM), ISO New England projects the capacity needs of the region’s power system three years in advance and then holds an annual auction to purchase the power resources that will satisfy those future regional requirements. Resources that clear in the auction are obligated to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO. The Forward Capacity Market was developed by ISO New England, the six New England states, and industry stakeholders to promote investment in generation and demand-response resources to meet future demand. The results ensure that the region will have sufficient resources to meet future demand. Resources that clear in the auction are committed to provide power or curtail demand when called upon by the ISO, or risk financial penalties.
Interconnection Guidelines (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Interconnection Yes State/Territory Rhode Island enacted legislation (HB 6222) in June 2011 to standardize the application process for the interconnection of customer-sited renewable-energy systems to the state’s distribution grid. Rhode Island’s interconnection policy is not nearly as comprehensive as interconnection standards established by many other states. The new application process, which took effect in July 2011, applies to the state's electric distribution companies, including National Grid.

Under this process, an interconnection applicant must submit an application to the utility for an impact study, including a request for an estimate of the cost of interconnecting the proposed system. The applicant may choose to request a feasibility study prior to requesting an impact study. The utility must provide a feasibility study, if requested, within 30 days of receipt of a completed application, and it must provide an impact study within 90 days of receipt of a completed application.

There is no feasibility study fee for residential systems up to 25 kilowatts (kW) that comply with UL 1741.1. There is a $50 fee for residential systems greater than 25 kW that comply with UL 1741.1. For non-residential systems, the feasibility study fee ranges from $100 to $2,500, depending on system size and whether the system complies with UL 1741.1.

There is no impact study fee for residential systems up to 25 kW that comply with UL 1741.1. There is a $100 fee for residential systems greater than 25 kW that comply with UL 1741.1. For non-residential systems, the impact study fee ranges from $500 to $10,000, depending on system size and whether the system complies with UL 1741.1. This fee structure will remain in effect through December 31, 2012. The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is authorized to raise fee levels beginning January 1, 2013.

National Grid has incorporated these provisions into its "Standards for Interconnection of Distributed Generation." These standards are included in National Grid's tariffs, which are accessible via the PUC's web site.
Job Creation Guaranty Program (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Loan Program Yes State/Province RIEDC’s Job Creation Guaranty Program provides businesses looking to expand or relocate in Rhode Island with access to capital and credit. RIEDC guarantees loans by private lenders or guarantees bond obligations for technology and innovation-driven businesses that create high paying employment within the state.
Job Training Tax Credit (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province Companies who invest in training opportunities for new or existing employees may take a corporate income tax credit equal to 50% of eligible training expenditures through the Job Training Tax Credit. Employees must be full-time and earn at least 150% of the Rhode Island minimum wage after training. Up to $5000 per employee over a three-year period is available.
Local Option - Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Property Tax Incentive Yes State/Territory Rhode Island allows cities and towns to exempt, by ordinance, renewable energy systems from property taxation. The term "renewable energy system" is not defined in the applicable statute (R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-3-21).

Note that a separate statute (R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-57-4) specifies that for purposes of local municipal property tax assessment, certain residential solar-energy systems may not be assessed at more than the value of a conventional heating system, a conventional hot-water system, or energy production capacity that otherwise could be necessary to install in a building. Qualifying technologies include photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar water-heating systems and active solar space-heating systems.
Local Option - Property-Assessed Clean Energy Financing (Rhode Island) Rhode Island PACE Financing Yes State/Territory
NOTE: '''''In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. Rhode Island has authorized local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (Not all local governments in Rhode Island offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)

After January 1, 2014, a town or city council may adopt a resolution to designate itself a PACE municipality. Homeowners living in a PACE municipality can enter into a written agreement with the local government to have a PACE assessment lien placed on their property. The lien will be subordinate to all other liens on the property at the time the PACE lien takes effect.

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources will contract with an approved financial institution to create a Loan Loss Reserve Fund. In the event that there is a foreclosure on a property with a PACE assessment, the Loan Loss Reserve Fund will cover the past due balance of the PACE assessment. The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources will also publish a list of eligible types of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will qualify for PACE financing. The office will also develop informational resources to help residents understand PACE financing, and provide technical assistance to and offer to manage PACE programs on behalf of any PACE municipality.

Net Metering (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Net Metering Yes State/Territory Rhode Island allows net metering for systems up to five megawatts (MW) in capacity that are designed to generate up to 100% of the electricity that a home or other facility uses. Systems that generate electricity using solar energy, wind energy, ocean-thermal energy, geothermal energy, small hydropower, biogas from anaerobic digestion, or fuel cells using any of these energy sources are eligible. All customers of electric distribution companies are eligible. The aggregate limit of net-metered systems in Rhode Island is 3% of peak load, and 2 MW is reserved for systems less than 50 kW.

A system generally must be owned by the customer of record and sited on the customer's premises (in the same geographic location). However, facilities (1) owned by municipalities or multi-municipal collaboratives or (2) owned and operated by a developer on behalf of a municipality or multi-municipal collaborative through a "municipal net metering financing arrangement"* are also eligible. Meter aggregation is generally allowed, and special provisions exist to accommodate meter aggregation for farm-based systems that serve facilities in close proximity to each other.

The rate credited for kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated that do not exceed the customer's kWh consumption for that billing period is equal to the utility's retail rate (minus a very small conservation charge per kWh). Any excess kWh that do not exceed 125% of the customer's kWh consumption for that billing period are credited at the utility's avoided cost rate. Excess credit may be carried forward to the next bill or purchased by the utility (at its discretion). To facilitate the administration of billing, utilities may estimate a net-metered customer's generation and consumption over a 12-month period.

Otherwise, the rates (including customer charges and demand charges) that apply to a net-metered customer must be the same rates that would apply if the same customer were not net metering. Utilities may not impose any other charges on net-metered customers. Net-metered customers are exempt from back-up or standby rates commensurate with the size of the net-metered system. Utilities my recover through rates any revenue shortfall caused by this exemption.


* A "municipal net metering financing arrangement" is defined as an arrangement between a municipality or multi-municipal collaborative and a private entity to facilitate the financing and operation of a net-metered system. Such systems are owned and operated by the private entity and must be located on property owned or controlled by the municipality or one of the municipalities.
New England Power Pool (Multiple States) Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Interconnection Yes Non-Profit Independent System Operator (ISO) New England helps protect the health of New England's economy and the well-being of its people by ensuring the constant availability of electricity, today and for future generations. ISO New England meets this obligation in three ways: by ensuring the day-to-day reliable operation of New England's bulk power generation and transmission system, by overseeing and ensuring the fair administration of the region's wholesale electricity markets, and by managing comprehensive, regional planning processes.
Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals Yes State/Province This entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in Rhode Island as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont) may be lower.
Regulations for the Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations aim to protect surface water from pollutant discharges. They describe allowable discharges in the state that are subject to permits, discharges which may be made without permits, as well as discharges that are prohibited. The regulations require reports of the identity, amount, frequency, concentration, temperature, and other discharge characteristics, and establish rules for toxic discharges as well as maximum daily discharge limitations. Some exemptions to stated requirements, including exemptions for small businesses, are noted in the regulations. General permit applications exist for discharges associated with industrial activity, construction activity, and non-contact cooling water discharges.
Renewable Energy Fund Grant Programs (Rhode Island) Rhode Island State Grant Program No State/Territory The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) provides grants, loans and other forms of financing for renewable energy projects. These financial incentives are funded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF), which was created in 1996. The four component programs are summarized below:
  • Non-Profit Affordable Housing Investment Program. Available to non-profit affordable housing developers and agencies, this program provides incentives totaling up to $200,000 per year, with a maximum individual award of $100,000. Incentives could take the form of loans, grants, recoverable grants or other financial mechanisms. There are two application deadlines annually (March 31 and September 30).
  • Municipal Renewable Energy Investment Program. Available to municipalities and teams of municipalities, this program provides grants and recoverable grants totaling up to $1 million per years, with a maximum individual award of $500,000. There are two application deadlines annually (March 31 and September 30).
  • Pre-Development Consultant and Technical Feasibility Program. Available to businesses, civic and educational institutions, non-profits, municipalities, and non-profit affordable housing developers, this program provides incentives totaling up to $200,000 per year, with a maximum individual award of $100,000. Incentives could take the form of loans, grants or recoverable grants. There are two application deadlines annually (March 31 and September 30).
  • Renewable Energy Development Program. Available to businesses, civic and educational institutions, non-profits, municipalities, and non-profit affordable housing developers, this program provides incentives totaling up to $750,000 per year, with a maximum individual award of $250,000. Incentives could take the form of loans, grants, recoverable grants or other financial mechanisms. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Renewable energy systems eligible for support from the RIREF include facilities in the New England Power Pool that generate electricity using solar, wind, wave, tidal, ocean-thermal, geothermal, hydro or sustainably-managed biomass resources. Solar-thermal systems (including solar space-heating systems) installed state-certified low-income housing projects are also eligible.

The RIEDC has developed specific criteria to evaluate proposed projects. See the program web site for more information.

2010] (covering the 2009 calendar year).
Renewable Energy Fund Loan Programs (Rhode Island) Rhode Island State Loan Program No State/Territory The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) provides grants, loans and other forms of financing for renewable energy projects. These financial incentives are funded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF), which was created in 1996. The four component programs are summarized below:
  • Non-Profit Affordable Housing Investment Program. Available to non-profit affordable housing developers and agencies, this program provides incentives totaling up to $200,000 per year, with a maximum individual award of $100,000. Incentives could take the form of loans, grants, recoverable grants or other financial mechanisms. There are two application deadlines annually (March 31 and September 30).
  • Municipal Renewable Energy Investment Program. Available to municipalities and teams of municipalities, this program provides grants and recoverable grants totaling up to $1 million per years, with a maximum individual award of $500,000. There are two application deadlines annually (March 31 and September 30).
  • Pre-Development Consultant and Technical Feasibility Program. Available to businesses, civic and educational institutions, non-profits, municipalities, and non-profit affordable housing developers, this program provides incentives totaling up to $200,000 per year, with a maximum individual award of $100,000. Incentives could take the form of loans, grants or recoverable grants. There are two application deadlines annually (March 31 and September 30).
  • Renewable Energy Development Program. Available to businesses, civic and educational institutions, non-profits, municipalities, and non-profit affordable housing developers, this program provides incentives totaling up to $750,000 per year, with a maximum individual award of $250,000. Incentives could take the form of loans, grants, recoverable grants or other financial mechanisms. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Renewable energy systems eligible for support from the RIREF include facilities in the New England Power Pool that generate electricity using solar, wind, wave, tidal, ocean-thermal, geothermal, hydro or sustainably-managed biomass resources. Solar-thermal systems (including solar space-heating systems) installed state-certified low-income housing projects are also eligible.

The RIEDC has developed specific criteria to evaluate proposed projects. See the program web site for more information.

2010] (covering the 2009 calendar year).
Renewable Energy Standard (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Renewables Portfolio Standard Yes State/Territory Rhode Island's Renewable Energy Standard (RES), established in June 2004, requires the state's retail electricity providers -- including non-regulated power producers and distribution companies -- to supply 16% of their retail electricity sales from renewable resources by the end of 2019. The requirement began at 3% by the end of 2007, and then increases an additional 0.5% per year through 2010, an additional 1% per year from 2011 through 2014, and an additional 1.5% per year from 2015 through 2019.* In 2020, and in each subsequent year, the minimum RES established in 2019 must be maintained unless the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) determines that the standard is no longer necessary.

Eligible renewable resources include:

  • Direct solar radiation
  • Wind
  • Movement or the latent heat of the ocean
  • The earth's heat
  • Hydroelectric facilities not greater than 30 megawatts (MW) in capacity
  • Biomass facilities using eligible biomass fuels and maintaining compliance with current air permits; eligible biomass fuels may be co-fired with fossil fuels, provided that only the renewable-energy portion of production from multi-fuel facilities will be considered eligible
  • Fuel cells using renewable resources

For each obligated entity and in each compliance year, and for the purposes of meeting the RES, the amount of retail electricity sales derived from eligible renewable resources initially placed into commercial operation before December 31, 1997, may not exceed 2% of total retail electricity sales. Compliance with the RES may also be achieved through the purchase of New England Power Pool Generation Information System (NEPOOL-GIS) certificates or by making an alternative compliance payment of $64.02 per megawatt-hour (2012) to the state's Renewable Energy Development Fund. Voluntary green-power purchases may not be counted toward RES compliance. Annual compliance reports are available on the PUC web site shown above.

A separate and distinct standard established in June 2009 ("Long-Term Contracting Standard for Renewable Energy") requires electric distribution companies to solicit proposals and enter into long-term contracts for capacity, energy and attributes from new renewable energy facilities. Electric distribution companies will be required to enter into long-term contracts for 90 MW in capacity by 2014, of which 3 MW must come from in-state solar facilities. Distribution companies will be required to meet the following annual benchmarks, provided acceptable, commercially reasonable proposals have been received:

  • 22.5 MW contracted by 12/30/2010 (25% of the total required amount)
  • 45 MW contracted by 12/30/2011 (50% of the total required amount)
  • 67.5 MW contracted by 12/30/2012 (75% of the total required amount), and
  • 90 MW contracted by 12/30/2013 (100% of the requirement).

Each long-term contract must be reviewed and approved by the PUC. All energy and capacity purchased must be sold immediately by the distribution company into the wholesale spot market. Or, with PUC approval, the distribution company may re-sell the energy and capacity to customers. The NEPOOL-GIS certificates purchased under the long-term contract must be sold through a competitive bid process, or with PUC approval, may be used to meet the distribution company's RES obligations.


* RES increases in 2011 and in subsequent years are subject to the PUC's findings.
Residential Solar Energy Property Tax Exemption (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Property Tax Incentive Yes State/Territory Rhode Island law provides that for purposes of local municipal property tax assessment, certain residential solar-energy systems may not be assessed at more than the value of a conventional heating system, a conventional water-heating system, or energy production capacity that otherwise could be necessary to install in a building. Qualifying systems include photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar hot-water systems and active solar space-heating systems. Equipment must be new. (Passive solar systems, and systems installed on boats or vehicles do not qualify.)
Rhode Island Pretreatment Regulations (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations set standards for water pretreatment prior to release to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs), and require effluent data including the identity, amount, frequency, concentration, temperature, or other characteristics (to the extent related to water quality) of any pollutant which has been discharged by the source (or of any pollutant resulting from any discharge from the source).
Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF) (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Public Benefits Fund Yes State/Territory Rhode Island's Public Utilities Restructuring Act of 1996 created the nation's first public benefits fund (PBF) for renewable energy and demand-side management (DSM). The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund's (RIREF) renewable-energy component is administered by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), and the fund's demand-side management (DSM) programs are administered by the state's electric and gas distribution companies, subject to review by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Rhode Island's PBF is supported by a surcharge on electric and gas customers' bills. Initially, the surcharge was was set at $0.0023 per kilowatt-hour (2.3 mills per kWh) and applied only to electric utilities. That funding supported both renewables and DSM programs. The law was amended in 2002 by establishing separate surcharges for renewables and DSM. The adjusted surcharge for renewables -- set at $0.0003 (0.3 mills) per kWh -- and the adjusted surcharge for DSM programs -- set at $0.002 (2.0 mills) per kWh -- was initially scheduled to remain in effect for 10 years, beginning January 1, 2003. The annual budget for the renewables fund during this 10-year period was approximately $2.4 million. Beginning January 1, 2007, Rhode Island's gas-distribution utilities were required to include a surcharge of up to $0.15 per decatherm delivered. Legislation enacted in May 2011 (H.B. 5281) removed the specific surcharge amounts for electric and gas DSM programs. The PUC and utilities will determine appropriate surcharges. The bill also extended the duration of the overall fund to January 1, 2018.

Per the most recent amendments to the program, the RIREF supports three program areas: Small-Scale Solar, Commercial Development, and Pre-Development Feasibility Studies. Renewable-energy systems eligible for support from the RIREF include facilities in the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) control area that generate electricity using solar, solar thermal, solar space-heating, wind, wave, tidal, ocean-thermal, geothermal, hydro or sustainably-managed biomass resources. In addition, co-firing systems are eligible for funding, as well as fuel cells and microturbines using renewable fuels. Projects and activities directly related to implementing eligible renewable-energy projects in Rhode Island also are eligible.

H.B. 7806 (2008) directed the RIEDC to integrate and coordinate the state's renewable-energy policies -- including the RIREF, the Rhode Island Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) and the state's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) policy -- more effectively. For more information, see the RIEDC's 5-Year Strategic Plan (2009-2013) for the RIREF.

History

Legislation (H.B. 7806) enacted in July 2008 authorized the RIEDC to integrate and coordinate the state's renewable-energy policies more effectively. This law required the RIEDC to create the Municipal Renewable Energy Investment Program, using the lesser of 50% or $1 million collected annually from the 0.3 mill per kWh surcharge for renewable-energy programs. This program provided grants of up to $500,000 per project for municipal renewable-energy projects. The RIEDC created a second grant program, the Nonprofit Affordable Housing Renewable Energy Investment Program, using the lesser of 10% or $200,000 collected annually from the 0.3 mill per kWh surcharge for renewables programs. In addition, the rules established by RIEDC provided funding (around $200,000 per year) to support pre-development consultant and technical feasibility studies. These programs took effect January 1, 2009, but these sections of the law were repealed in June 2012.
Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Rhode Island's stormwater design and installation standards manual has been developed to describe mandatory and suggested stormwater design and performance criteria for applicants to the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and Rhode Island's cities and towns. This manual is meant to assist property owners, developers, engineers, consultants, contractors, municipal staff and others in planning, designing and implementing effective stormwater best management practices for the development and redevelopment of properties in Rhode Island. The manual addresses specific criteria for the site planning process, groundwater recharge, water quality, channel protection, and peak flow control requirements, as well as low impact development (LID) site planning and design strategies.
Rules Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The purpose of these rules is to protect public health and the environment by establishing minimum standards for the proper location, design, construction and maintenance of onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTSs) used for the treatment and dispersal of wastewater. The rules also provide for the approval of alternative or experimental technologies that may be used in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, the OWTSs and components specified herein. The rules define several critical resource areas which are deemed to be particularly sensitive to the detrimental effects of nutrients, pathogenic organisms, organic chemicals and other substances that may be present in wastewater effluent. The areas, which fall under the categories of salt ponds, areas in the Narrow River watershed, and drinking water supply watersheds, are listed in section 38.3 of this document.
Rules and Regulations Governing the Establishment of Various Fees (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province These regulations describe the fees associated with several Department of Environmental Management regulatory programs, including programs pertaining to pollutant and wastewater discharge, groundwater, water quality, underground injection, well drilling, and air quality.
Rules and Regulations Pertaining to a User Fee System for Point Source Dischargers that Discharge Pollutants into the Waters of the State (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations No State/Province These regulations establish a user fee system for point source dischargers that discharge pollutants into the surface waters of the State. The funds from such fees are used by the Department of Environmental Management to develop and operate a pollution monitoring system and to protect, preserve, and upgrade the surface waters into which the discharges flow. The fees hall be individually based on the need for monitoring a facility's discharge because of the potential for environmental degradation that its effluent poses.
Rules and Regulations for Dam Safety (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These rules and regulations seek to provide for the safety of dams to protect the public, real property, and natural resources by establishing reasonable standards and creating a public record for reviewing dam performance. Maintenance and repair of low and high hazard dams, as well as substantial alteration and construction of new dams all require official approval. These regulations describe procedures for dam registration, hazard classification, inspection, and official approval processes.
Rules and Regulations for Dredging and the Management of Dredged Material (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations apply to dredging conducted in a marine environment. The regulations aim to ensure that dredging does not unduly impact groundwater and surface water quality while streamlining the permitting process. The regulations address both the dredging process and the dredged material, encouraging the beneficial use of this material for brownfields redevelopment, beach nourishment, landscaping, habitat restoration and/or creation, construction projects, landfill cover and other useful purposes. The regulations list sites suitable for beneficial use and/or disposal of dredged material, and establish criteria for identifying other suitable sites.
Rules and Regulations for Governing the Administration and Enforcement of the Fresh Water Wetlands Act (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations assert the Department of Environmental Management's authority to administer and enforce the Fresh Water Wetlands Act (R.I. Gen. Laws, ch. 2-1-18 through 2-1-25), and describe standards which aim to preserve, protect, and restore the purity and integrity of all freshwater wetlands in Rhode Island. The regulations assert the Department's right to restrict development around freshwater resources and to remove dams that are in a state of disrepair and may pose hazards to the public. Proposed projects or activities which may alter any freshwater wetland may not be undertaken without a permit from the Department, but some exemptions apply.
Rules and Regulations for Groundwater Quality (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations provide standards for groundwater quality in the state of Rhode Island. The rules are intended to protect and restore the quality of the state's groundwater resources for use as drinking water and other beneficial uses, and to assure protection of the public health and welfare and the environment.
Rules and Regulations for Hazardous Waste Management (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations establish permitting and operational requirements for hazardous waste facilities. They are designed to minimize environmental hazards associated with the generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes, including the hazardous waste component of mixed radioactive and hazardous waste (mixed waste), the transportation of septage, and the operation of hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities.
Rules and Regulations for Sewage Sludge Management (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The purpose of these rules and regulations is to ensure that sewage sludge that is treated, land applied, disposed, distributed, stockpiled or transported in the State of Rhode Island is done so in a manner to protect public health and to avoid degradation of the environment. To achieve this purpose, these rules and regulations establish procedures governing the management of sludge. The regulations contain specific references to aerobic and anaerobic digestion processes.
Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Facilities Used for Petroleum Products and Hazardous Materials (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations apply to underground storage facilities for petroleum and hazardous waste, and seek to protect water resources from contamination. The regulations establish procedures for the remediation of contaminated sites as well as siting, design, installation, operating, and monitoring requirements for underground tank systems.
Rules and Regulations for the Investigation and Remediation of Hazardous Material Releases (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province These regulations establish procedures for the investigation and remediation of contamination resulting from the unpermitted release of hazardous materials. The regulations aim to protect water resources, the environment, and human health, and to restore contaminated areas to encourage business development.
Rules for the Discharge of Non-Sanitary Wastewater and Other Fluids To or Below the Ground Surface (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The purpose of these rules to protect and preserve the quality of the groundwater of the State of Rhode Island (the “State”) and to prevent contamination of groundwater resources from the discharge of non-sanitary wastewater or other fluid to or below the ground surface.
Small-Scale Solar Grants (Rhode Island) Rhode Island State Grant Program Yes State/Territory The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) provides incentives for renewable-energy projects. Incentive programs are funded by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund (RIREF) and alternative compliance payments (ACPs) from the state’s renewable portfolios standard (RPS). Currently, the RIEDC provides grants for small-scale solar projects and direct funding for commercial-scale renewable-energy projects.

Grants are available for photovoltaic systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) in capacity and domestic solar water-heating systems with collectors up to 160 square feet. Systems may be installed on homes, businesses or affordable housing projects. Grants will provide 25% of project funding, with a maximum award of $10,000 per individual project. (Alternatively, a 50% low-interest loan of up to $20,000 is available per individual project.) The deadlines to submit complete applications are February 15, 2013; April 30, 2013; and July 26, 2013.

All projects must be “grouped” by the applicant. Eligible applicants are solar contractors, neighborhood associations, or another grouping mechanism approved by the RIEDC. Grouped solar projects must consist of at least three and at most 20 individual projects, and all projects proposed in a group must be PV projects or solar water-heating projects – not a mixture of both. Each individual project owner must have an energy audit conducted

The following requirements apply to each PV system proposed:

  • A shade-analysis demonstrating no more than 20% predicted shading during the hours of one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.
  • A layout drawing of project.
  • A one-line electrical drawing.
  • Project payback using assumptions stated in the program guidelines
  • Manufacturer’s specifications for panels and inverter to be installed.
  • A photo of the project location taken from the south looking northward toward the building or site.
  • An aerial image of the site from Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google Earth, or similar source with the building or site clearly identified.

The following requirements apply to each solar water-heating system proposed:

  • A shade-analysis demonstrating no more than 20% shading during the hours of one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.
  • A layout drawing of the project which illustrates at a minimum the placement of collectors and a plumbing schematic.
  • A cross-section drawing of roof showing the size, spacing and rafter run.
  • Project payback using assumptions stated in the program guidelines
  • Manufacturer’s specifications for collectors and tank to be installed.
  • A photo of the project location taken from the south looking northward toward the building or site.
  • An aerial image of the site from Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google Earth, or similar source with the building or site clearly identified
Solid Waste Regulation No. 8 - Solid Waste Composting Facilities (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province Facilities which compost putrescible waste and/or leaf and yard waste are subject to these regulations. The regulations establish permitting, registration, and operational requirements for composting facilities. Operational requirements for putrescible waste facilities include siting, distance, and buffer requirements, as well as standards for avoiding harm to endangered species and contamination of air and water sources. Specific facility requirements include standards for equipment and drainage locations.
The Enterprise Zone (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Enterprise Zone Yes State/Province The Enterprise Zone offers tax incentives to business expanding their workforce by 5% at facilities in designated enterprise zones. The tax credit is equal to 50% of the annual wages paid to a new employee, or up to 75% for an employee who resides in the enterprise zone. The maximum credit is $5000 per employee.
The Jobs Development Act (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province The Jobs Development Act provides an incremental reduction in the corporate income tax rate (9%) to companies creating jobs in Rhode Island. For every ten new jobs created for companies with fewer than 100 employees, companies can reduce the tax by a quarter percentage point. For companies with more than 100 employees, a quarter percentage point can be deducted for every fifty new jobs created. The tax may be reduced to as low as 3%.
Underground Injection Control Program Rules and Regulations (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The purpose of this regulation is to preserve the quality of the groundwater of the State and thereby protect groundwater contamination from contamination by discharge from injection wells and other subsurface waste disposal of hazardous and other wastes. It is the policy of the Department of Environmental Management to assure the proper location, design, construction, maintenance and operation of injection wells and other subsurface disposal systems to prevent such groundwater contamination.
Water Quality Regulations (Rhode Island) Rhode Island Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province The purpose of these regulations is to establish water quality standards for the state's surface waters. These standards are intended to restore, preserve and enhance the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the waters of the state, to maintain existing water uses, and to protect waters from pollutants. The regulations provide criteria for freshwater and saltwater, as well as standards for oxygen dissolved in saltwater, and describe ambient water quality classifications and special resource protection waters.