The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority will buy more than half of its power from a local renewable energy company by the end of this year.
They made an agreement with Green Development, LLC to buy from them up to 8.3 million kilowatt hours of wind energy each year at a discounted rate. The convention center authority uses about 11 million kilowatt hours annually.
"Having a high profile customer like this is a great way to draw more attention to what’s possible and to get other entities that are also qualified for the program to consider participating." Al Bucknam, CEO at Green Development, LLC, said.
The transaction will be done through a program called virtual net metering. That's when a company buys renewable energy that’s being generated elsewhere by solar panels or wind turbines.
The convention center authority will purchase power that will come from a new wind turbine under construction in Johnston. It is expected to be operational by the end of this year.
Jim McCarvill, executive director of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority, said investing in renewable energy also appeals to groups that want to do business with the convention center.
"They like to know there’s a robust recycling operation and green energy is another thing that we can use to differentiate our destination," McCarvill said.
Since last spring, Rhode Island has more than doubled the amount of renewable energy in the state.
Earlier this month, Governor Gina Raimondo announced that the Office of Energy Resources will collaborate with the state's utilities to procure another 400 megawatts of renewable energy by the end of this summer.