PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Economic Development Corporation board of directors and Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee have approved new rules and regulations for the Renewable Energy Fund, they announced at a Monday evening press conference.
The changes include improved oversight through an advisory board whose goal is to help evaluate potential projects prior to EDC board consideration, a new $1 million fund set aside for Rhode Island-based emerging technology companies focused on renewable energy and a new category that allows residential projects to be eligible for funding.
“These changes are examples of how my administration is committed to investing taxpayer funds wisely in supporting renewable energy technologies to help businesses and consumers. At the same time, we have stronger and a specific set of rules to ensure accountability,” said Chafee in a statement, adding that his administration has “worked to foster greater collaboration between the RIEDC and Office of Energy Resources to successfully administer the REF program.”
“I continue to try to maximize the economic benefits associated with renewable energy development, including expanding the program to allow residential activities creating jobs and spurring economic activity,” said Chafee.
The new advisory board will be comprised of two or more employees from the R.I. office of Energy Resources, one EDC staff person from the Renewable Energy Fund, one EDC staff person from financial services and a representative from the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council.
According to a release, there is an anticipated $4.25 million in Renewable Energy Fund funding expected in 2013. The rules and regulations have set aside $1.5 million for small-scale solar, $1 million for innovation and market development, $1 million for project installation and $750,000 for pre-development feasibility studies.
The new rules and regulations, which also specify a standard method to calculate return on investment, are expected to become effective in mid-January.