New report: Rhode Island ranks among national leaders for energy efficiency

Media Contacts
Emma Searson

Decade-long analysis details dramatic clean energy progress in Rhode Island and nation

Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island leads the nation in electricity efficiency savings, according to a new report released today by Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center. Renewables on the Rise 2021: The rapid growth of renewables, electric vehicles and other building blocks of a clean energy future documents the growth of six key clean energy technologies across the U.S. over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and heat pumps. 

In 2019, Rhode Island saved enough electricity through efficiency programs to match more than 2.5% of its electricity consumption. In addition, the Ocean State ranks second in the country for improvements in electric energy efficiency from 2011 through 2019. This analysis comes shortly after leaders in Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will deliver billions of dollars nationwide in funding for energy efficiency and conservation. 

“Rhode Island is truly setting the pace when it comes to the cleanest energy resource out there,” said Emma Searson, 100% Renewable Campaign director with Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center. “Using less energy in the first place is the single best way to reduce the impact of our energy system on people and the planet, and will be crucial in the transition to a 100% clean and renewable future.” 

While the Ocean State has seen noteworthy progress in energy efficiency, it lags behind the national pace in other clean energy areas. For example, wind and solar generation represented just over 10% of the state’s electricity consumption in 2020, compared to 11% nationwide. With vast offshore wind resources that the state has only begun to tap, Rhode Island has the potential to lead in renewable energy adoption. 

In addition to highlighting states that have made the most progress in adopting renewable energy technologies, the research also details the rapid gains achieved nationally over the past decade. According to the report, America produced almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind in 2020 as in 2011. Additionally, if wind, solar and geothermal generation continue growing at the same 15% annual rate, renewables could meet the nation’s electricity needs by 2035. 

“Millions of Americans — including Rhode Islanders — are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” Searson said. “But, we’ll need to do even more in order to transform the vision of 100% clean and renewable energy for Rhode Island into a reality. The Ocean state can and should join the nine others that have set their sights on 100% clean or renewable electricity to ensure even more progress in the decades to come.”