FILE PHOTO: Democratic candidate for Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo takes the stage for a campaign rally with United States first lady Michelle Obama in Providence, Rhode Island October 30, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
(Reuters) – Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Friday aiming for renewable energy to provide all of the state’s electricity by 2030 to fight climate change.
With the order, Rhode Island joins several other states that have set 100% clean energy goals, including Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Maine, New York, Washington and Virginia, according to Environment America, an environmental group advocating the country produce all of its energy from clean and renewable energy.
Rhode Island expects to meet the order’s targets by adding more solar, wind power and energy storage projects and investing in energy efficiency programs.
As U.S. consumers demand cleaner energy, renewables, like wind, solar and hydropower, are expected to overtake coal and nuclear to become the nation’s second biggest source of electric generation in 2021.
Natural gas is expected to remain the primary U.S. power plant fuel for many years after it supplanted coal in 2016. But gas is expected to decline from 38% of the power generation mix in 2020 to 37% in 2021 as renewables gain market share.
Renewables will rise from 19% in 2020 to 22% in 2021, according to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Rhode Island currently generates more of its electricity from natural gas than any other state. The smallest U.S. state has about 2,000 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity, enough to power about 2 million homes. Almost all of that capacity – about 1,800 MW – is gas-fired.
In 2018, the state got 93% of its net generation from gas, 3% from biomass, 2% from wind and 1% each from oil and solar, according to EIA data.
The Rhode Island order has interim targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, to 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio