Chafee approves new rules surrounding renewable energy
Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation approved new rules and regulations for the Renewable Energy Fund. Changes include improved oversight through an advisory board to help evaluate potential projects prior to EDC consideration, a new $1 million set-aside for Rhode Island-based emerging technology companies that have a product potential to transform the renewable energy business sector, and a new category that would allow residential projects to be eligible for funding.
“These changes are examples of how my administration is committed to investing taxpayer funds wisely in supporting renewable energy technologies to help businesses and consumers,” said Chafee. “At the same time, we have stronger and a specific set of rules to ensure accountability.”
He added, “I continue to try to maximize the economic benefits associated with renewable energy development, including expanding the program to allow residential activities creating jobs and spurring economic activity.”
The new advisory board would be comprised of no fewer than two employees of the Office of Energy Resources, one EDC staff person from the REF, one EDC staff person from financial services, and the director from the Science and Technology Advisory Council.
With an anticipated $4.25 million in REF funding for 2013, the rules and regulations have set aside $1.5 million for small-scale solar projects, $1 million for innovation and market development, $1 million for project installation, and $750,000 for pre-development feasibility studies.
For the first time, residential applications for grouped projects would be accepted. New legislation passed in June 2012 expanded the eligibility to include residential in addition to commercial and affordable housing projects. The new rules and regulations also specify a standard method to calculate return on investment for a project as well as caps on awards.