Rhode Island Energy made an official announcement today regarding the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) aimed at procuring an additional 1,200MW (1.2GW) of offshore wind energy to bolster the state’s energy resources. This RFP represents the most substantial renewable energy solicitation ever initiated in the state of Rhode Island.

Notably, this RFP comes just after a significant development wherein Connecticut, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the state of Rhode Island inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU). This memorandum opens the door for a coordinated approach across multiple states, allowing them to collaboratively explore offshore wind opportunities. These endeavours align closely with each state’s individual efforts to secure offshore wind procurement within a concurrent timeframe.

Rhode Island Energy president Dave Bonenberger said: “Bringing more affordable offshore wind opportunities to Rhode Island and our region is a key priority for us.

“We know there’s a sense of urgency to get more renewables online and we believe this next RFP will give developers a new, unique opportunity to think creatively about how they can meet the state’s clean energy and economic development goals, while balancing our customers’ affordability needs.”

Rhode Island proudly boasts the distinction of being the home to the US’ inaugural offshore wind farm, situated in the waters off Block Island. Furthermore, the state is actively advancing transmission infrastructure enhancements to support a forthcoming offshore wind initiative named “Revolution Wind.” This ambitious project is set to deliver over 700MW of clean energy, benefitting both Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Bonenberger added: “With a larger capacity available, a streamlined application process, additional flexibility on contract durations, and the potential for multi-state coordination, we believe this solicitation could provide greater economies of scale for developers.

“We’re providing more tools to help drive affordable offshore wind opportunities to our state and we look forward to seeing how it spurs innovation and competitive pricing from offshore wind developers.”

This RFP invites developers to submit bids encompassing projects ranging from less than 1,200MW up to approximately that capacity.

Rhode Island Energy is actively seeking proposals from potential developers who are interested in establishing long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for the procurement of both energy and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from newly developed offshore wind projects, in alignment with the state’s Affordable Clean Energy Security (ACES) Act.

Prospective bidders are encouraged to submit their responses to this RFP by 31 January 2024. The announcement of successful bidder(s) is anticipated for the summer of 2024. Rhode Island Energy, in collaboration with the state’s Office of Energy Resources and Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, will evaluate the responses received.