Mitigation (Reducing Emissions)

The State of Rhode Island and its partners are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil, and gasoline supply are the vast majority of Rhode Island’s current energy needs. By recommending and implementing smart energy policies-such as those that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, Rhode Island is reducing its dependence on these fuels, advancing our State as a national leader in the new clean energy economy.

The transportation sector is the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Rhode Island. The Division of Statewide Planning is leading or participating in multiple efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to address climate change Moving Forward Rhode Island 2040,the State of Rhode Island’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

Under the umbrella of Transportation 2040, the State Planning Council also adopted the Transit Master Plan, Bicycle Mobility Plan, and Congestion Management Process. These modal plans, together with the LRTP’s 18 appendices, support the LRTP and its goal to protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and state and municipal-planned growth and economic development patterns.

The objective of the Mobility Innovation Working Group is to inform the design of a statewide mobility strategy that will build on Rhode Island’s existing portfolio of clean transportation policies and initiatives to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, while also enhancing accessible transportation options and promoting economic development. The Working Group consists of state agency leaders and external stakeholders, who have a deep understanding of the mobility, environmental, economic and public health needs of Rhode Islanders. In January of 2021, the Working Group produced a final report outlining a suite of recommended initiatives and policies aimed at enhancing mobility for all Rhode Islanders.

In December 2020, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia announced the launch of a groundbreaking multi-state program that will reduce transportation-sector pollution while investing $300 million per year in cleaner transportation choices and healthier communities. Known as the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program, or TCI-P, it is a multi-state effort to develop an approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which is a major contributor to GHG emissions and climate change. Under this new cap-and invest program, the oil companies that distribute gasoline and on-road diesel fuel in the region will need to purchase allowances in an auction for the carbon emitted from their products. The total amount of allowances available for auction would be determined by the states and would decrease gradually over time. This method ensures that greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced through the program. The proceeds from the auctions will be shared by the participating states and invested in clean transportation improvement. Rhode Island is currently developing an investment plan and will continue to solicit input from a broad range of elected leaders and citizen groups to determine the best use of the funds. Ultimately, the investment plan will focus on developing real choices for Rhode Islanders for better, cleaner, and healthier transportation. Rhode Island will consider clean transportation options such as deploying more electric buses for public transportation, purchasing clean electric school buses for our children, providing incentives to purchase electric vehicles, improving regional rail, installing more charging stations to support electric vehicles, expanding bike path networks, and using more efficient highway design to minimize traffic and congestion. The connections between climate change, public health, equity, and justice are more urgent today than they have ever been, especially for transportation — and equity and environmental justice have been deeply integrated into the program design.

Rhode Island Zero Emission Vehicle Action Plan

The ZEV Action Plan created a process to guide state and local decision makers on how to successfully increase the number of ZEVs on Rhode Island roadways

Formed in 2014, the Rhode Island ZEV Working Group was a collaboration between the Office of Energy Resources (OER), the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and Ocean State Clean Cities (OSCC) to bring together state and quasi-state agencies, private and nonprofit companies, auto dealers, and utility providers to discuss the actions necessary to promote the responsible growth of the ZEV market in Rhode Island. The working group was tasked with exploring issues critical to the efficient and effective deployment of ZEV solutions across the policy, regulatory, and business landscapes. The mission of the RI ZEV Working Group was to: Further expand access to electric and fuel cell vehicle infrastructure in Rhode Island;

  • Encourage the purchase and lease of electric and fuel cell vehicles;
  • Reduce the up-front costs associated with electric and fuel cell vehicle purchases; and
  • Identify strategies to remove barriers for electric and fuel cell vehicle deployment

The State of Rhode Island and its partners are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil, and gasoline supply the vast majority of Rhode Island’s current energy needs. By recommending and implementing smart energy policies-such as those that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, Rhode Island is reducing its dependence on these fuels, advancing our State as a national leader in the new clean energy economy.

Energy 2035, Rhode Island State Energy Plan

In October 2015, the State Planning Council voted to adopt RI’s new State Energy Plan “Energy 2035” as an element of the State Guide Plan, codifying the Plan as the state’s formal long-term, comprehensive energy strategy. The Plan, produced by the RI Office of Energy Resources (OER) in collaboration with the RI Division of Statewide Planning, represents Rhode Island’s first data-driven energy planning and policy document. Its vision is to provide energy services across all sectors—electricity, thermal, and transportation—using a secure, cost-effective, and sustainable energy system. The Plan sets bold and ambitious goals and strategies for transforming Rhode Island's energy system and charges OER with providing a yearly status update on implementation. Directly related to the work of the EC4, the Plan identifies what opportunities exist in each sector of Rhode Island’s energy economy to achieve GHG emission reductions beyond the “business-as-usual” condition. Similarly, the Plan’s modeling shows that viable paths exist for Rhode Island to shift to a sustainable, low-carbon future, while simultaneously producing net economic benefits and increasing sector fuel diversity. The EC4 will continue to track the progress of the implementation of Energy 2035 and coordinate across agencies to help RI meet its key goals.

Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan (December 2016)

Pursuant to RIGL §46-6.2-2, the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council submitted to the Governor and General Assembly the Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan that includes strategies, programs and actions to meet specific targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions as follows: (i) ten percent (10%) below 1990 levels by 2020; (ii) forty-five percent (45%) below 1990 levels by 2035; and (iii) eighty percent (80%) below 1990 levels by 2050. A project team led by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) assisted the EC4 with the development of the study.

Community Coordination