Reducing Emissions

The State of Rhode Island and its partners are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil, and gasoline supply the vast majority of Rhode Island’s current energy needs. By recommending and implementing smart energy policies-such as those that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, Rhode Island is reducing its dependence on these fuels, advancing our State as a national leader in the new clean energy economy.

The Office of Energy Resources (OER) leads the State’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For further information about the Office of Energy Resources' responsibilities, visit the following links below:

TITLE 42 - State Affairs and Government - CHAPTER 42-140 - Rhode Island Energy Resources Act - SECTION 42-140-3

The Rhode Island State Energy Plan

RI State Energy Plan – Energy 2035

In October 2015, the State Planning Council voted to adopt RI’s new State Energy Plan “Energy 2035” as an element of the State Guide Plan, codifying the Plan as the state’s formal long-term, comprehensive energy strategy. The Plan, produced by the RI Office of Energy Resources (OER) in collaboration with the RI Division of Planning, represents Rhode Island’s first data-driven energy planning and policy document. Its vision is to provide energy services across all sectors—electricity, thermal, and transportation—using a secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy system. The Plan sets bold and ambitious goals and strategies for transforming Rhode Island's energy system and charges OER with providing a yearly status update on implementation. Directly related to the work of the EC4, the Plan identifies what opportunities exist in each sector of Rhode Island’s energy economy to achieve GHG emission reductions beyond the “business-as-usual” condition. Similarly, the Plan’s modeling shows that viable paths exist for Rhode Island to shift to a sustainable, low-carbon future, while simultaneously producing net economic benefits and increasing sector fuel diversity. The EC4 will continue to track the progress of the implementation of Energy 2035 and coordinate across agencies to help RI meet its key goals.

Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan (December 2016)

Pursuant to RIGL §46-6.2-2, the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council submitted to the Governor and General Assembly the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan that includes strategies, programs and actions to meet specific targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions as follows: (i) ten percent (10%) below 1990 levels by 2020; (ii) forty-five percent (45%) below 1990 levels by 2035; and (iii) eighty percent (80%) below 1990 levels by 2050. A project team led by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) assisted the EC4 with the development of the study.

Lead by Example Executive Order

Governor Raimondo’s Executive Order 15-17, directs state agencies to “Lead by Example” and transition energy supply portfolios and consumption practices to lower-cost, cleaner, low-carbon solutions. Among the Lead by Example directives, the Governor has tasked OER with overseeing and coordinating activities across State government to:

  • Reduce electricity consumption by at least 10 percent below 2014 levels by the end of 2019;
  • Identify opportunities to support a full transition toward renewable energy sources by 2025;
  • Support the integration of clean transportation solutions into the State’s fleet; and
  • Establish a voluntary stretch building code for use in all state construction and renovation projects

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

Since 2009, Rhode Island has been a participating state in RGGI, the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from power plants. The states participating in RGGI have established a regional cap on CO2 emissions from the power sector and require the regulated sources to possess a tradable CO2 allowance for each ton of CO2 they emit. These allowances are acquired through quarterly regional auctions as well as the secondary market. Rhode Island’s auction proceeds are invested in clean energy and other consumer benefit programs including energy efficiency and renewable energy. For additional information