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Rhode Island Roundup

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State Agencies to Cut Energy Use,
Move to Renewables 
Under Governor’s Executive Order


Between now and 2025, Rhode Island state agencies must switch to renewable sources for electricity, cut energy consumption derived from fossil fuels, use more zero-emission vehicles, meet green building standards, improve energy efficiency and encourage employees to commute by walking, biking or using public transit. These goals, set out in an Executive Order signed recently by Gov. Gina Raimondo, are part of her efforts to reduce the effects of climate change and transition to a cleaner, low-carbon energy economy.

In a statement, Raimondo said it was important that state agencies “lead by example,” and the Executive Order establishes a Lead by Example program within the state’s Office of Energy Resources (OER). The governor’s statement adds that the Executive Order “empowers our state agencies to implement innovative solutions to reduce our state’s carbon footprint, address climate change and make government more efficient.” Other state officials noted that the goals will also save money for taxpayers.

The Executive Order directs state agencies, subject to funding opportunities and constraints, to:

  • Procure 100 percent of state government electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2025;
  • Create a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2019;
  • Ensure that 25 percent of new cars entering the state fleet will be zero-emission vehicles by 2025;
  • Achieve high performance green building standards such as LEED certification, International Construction Code or an equivalent; and
  • Encourage employees to commute by foot, bike or public transit.

The order also says the OER will post state energy use publicly, including progress in reducing energy use below the fiscal 2014 baseline. By 2017, OER will coordinate with several other agencies and organizations on establishment of a voluntary “aspirational or stretch building code based on the International Green Construction Code or equivalent.”

The Executive Order acknowledges that higher up-front costs for capital assets and services can “result in significantly lower energy, operation and maintenance costs or longer life for the project.”

Additional policies that states are to consider for reducing greenhouse gas emissions include:

  • Installing renewable energy sources on state properties;
  • Replacing inefficient lighting systems with more efficient lighting options;
  • Purchasing ENERGY STAR and other energy efficient appliances;
  • Installing additional electric vehicle charging stations at state properties; and
  • Committing to energy targets for new construction.
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EC Providence Director Named to State’s 
Technical Committee Studying GHG Emission Reductions

 

EC Providence Director Brigid Ryan, who was appointed earlier this year to the state’s Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) Advisory Board, has now been named to the council’s 15-member Technical Committee charged with studying how to meet the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.

Those targets, outlined in the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014, require reducing GHG emissions:

  • 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020;
  • 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2035; and
  • 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The plan also is to include procedures and metrics for measuring progress toward those targets at least every five years, of progress necessary to meet the targets and for evaluating the possibility of meeting higher targets with cost-effective measures.

“This study presents an enormous opportunity for Rhode Island to identify a concrete action plan for meeting the emission reduction goals we set for ourselves as part of the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2015,” said Ryan. “The Technical Committee will guide the team to ensure that the solutions presented in the study are locally appropriate to Rhode Island,” she added.

The GHG Emissions Reduction Study is a joint project of the state’s Departments of Environmental Management and Transportation and its Division of Planning. The Technical Committee held its first meeting in mid-December.

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