July 05, 2017

Brattle Economists Assess Impact of Rhode Island Renewable Energy Growth Program

A report by Brattle Principals Mark Berkman and Jürgen Weiss evaluates the economic, jobs, and environmental impacts of the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Growth (REG) Program for years 2015 and 2016, as well as the expected impact of the overall program between 2015 and 2019.

The analysis involved an assessment of the immediate impacts on the Rhode Island economy related to the construction and activities caused by participating projects, and the long-term impacts though 2040 resulting from payments made and costs avoided under the REG program tariffs. The report finds that:

  • The 49.4 megawatts (MW) of solar and wind projects supported by the REG program in 2015 and 2016 resulted in an investment of $126 million in 1,046 projects.
  • By the end of the current REG program in 2019, REG investments will account for 160 MW of renewable energy capacity reflecting additional investments totaling $264 million, bringing total investment to $390 million.
  • This investment will contribute about $236 million on a present value basis to state GDP through 2040 and will add an average of 88 jobs each year.
  • The overall investments under the 2015-2019 REG program benefit from approximately $117 million in federal investment tax credits (ITC), about $38 million of which are benefitting program years 2015 and 2016.
  • The REG investments will contribute to reducing carbon and criteria pollutant emissions. The social costs avoided by the carbon reductions total over $51 million between now and 2040 on a present value basis.

These findings take into account the REG programmatic costs, including ratepayer costs to fund the above-market tariffs for energy, capacity, and renewable energy certificates (RECs) of the REG program and are net of increased state tax revenues due to taxes paid by REG program participants.

The report, “Renewable Energy Growth Program Analysis: Economic, Jobs and Environmental Impacts for Program Years 2015 and 2016 and the Overall Program Years 2015 to 2019,” is available for download below.

Associated Experts
Markberkman photo search
Dr. Berkman is an expert in applied microeconomics in the areas of the environment, energy, and natural resources; environmental health and safety; discrimination; and intellectual property. More icon f02782c24cccaf6d90e1da53920c42f20e5a8955f54ac2ca5727ec7dc89987b4
Jurgen weiss0492
Dr. Weiss specializes in issues broadly motivated by climate change concerns, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, the interaction between electricity, gas and transportation, and carbon pricing. More icon f02782c24cccaf6d90e1da53920c42f20e5a8955f54ac2ca5727ec7dc89987b4