§ 42-98-2. Declaration of policy.
It shall be the policy of this state to assure that:
(1) The facilities required to meet the energy needs of this and succeeding generations of Rhode Islanders are planned for, considered, and built in a timely and orderly fashion;
(2) Construction, operation, and/or alteration of major energy facilities shall only be undertaken when those actions are justified by long term state and/or regional energy need forecasts;
(3) The energy shall be produced at the least possible cost to the consumer consistent with the objective of ensuring that the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the facility shall produce the fewest possible adverse effects on the quality of the state's environment; most particularly, its land and its wildlife and resources, the health and safety of its citizens, the purity of its air and water, its aquatic and marine life, and its esthetic and recreational value to the public;
(4) The licensure and regulatory authority of the state be consolidated in a single body, which will render the final licensing decision concerning the siting, construction, operation and/or alteration of major energy facilities;
(5) An energy facility planning process shall be created through which the statewide planning program, in conjunction with the division of public utilities and carriers, will be empowered to undertake evaluations and projections of long and short term energy needs, and any other matters that are necessary to establish the state energy plans, goals, and policies. The state planning council shall be authorized and empowered to adopt a long term plan assessing the state's future energy needs and the best strategy for meeting them, as part of the state guide plan by January 1, 1991.
(6) The construction, operation and/or alteration of major energy facilities shall be consistent with the state's established energy plans, goals, and policy.
(7) Before approving the construction, operation and/or alteration of major energy facilities, the board shall determine whether cost effective efficiency and conservation opportunities provide an appropriate alternative to the proposed facility.
(8) The energy facilities siting board shall give priority to energy generation projects based on the degree to which such projects meet, criteria including, but not limited to:
(i) Using renewable fuels, natural gas, or coal processed by "clean coal technology" as their primary fuel;
(ii) Maximizing efficiency;
(iii) Using low levels of high quality water;
(iv) Using existing energy-generation facilities and sites;
(v) Producing low levels of potentially harmful air emissions;
(vi) Producing low levels of wastewater discharge;
(vii) Producing low levels of waste into the solid waste stream; and
(viii) Having dual fuel capacity.
The board shall, within its rules and regulations, provide guidelines and definitions of appropriate standards for the criteria designated in this subsection by January 1, 1991.
(P.L. 1986, ch. 531, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 321, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 145, § 1.)