Rhode Island Roundup
Energize Rhode Island Lobbies for Climate Action, Highlighting Oceans
The Energize RI campaign – a coalition of associations, businesses and nonprofit organizations, including EC Rhode Island, formed to promote a state carbon pricing policy – is keeping up the fight for ambitious climate action, according to EC Rhode Island Director and coalition Chair Brigid Ryan.
Coalition members took the issue to the state capitol during the Environment Council of Rhode Island’s (ECRI) Lobby Day, which was tied to Earth Day In April and to Rhode Island’s nickname, the Ocean State. Participants joined an "Underwater" march – some wearing blue and carrying underwater gear such as snorkels – to highlight the risks that climate change poses to our oceans. (See video from the Rhode Island State House rotunda.)
Rhode Island Clean-Energy Economy = Jobs Engine
Clean-energy jobs comprise one of the fastest growing sectors in Rhode Island’s economy, generating “remarkable” growth over the past 12 months and currently supporting some 14,000 workers statewide, according to the Rhode Island Clean Energy 2016 Industry Report from the state’s Office of Energy Resources.
Clean-energy employment increased by 40 percent over the 2015 level, far outpacing the projected 17 percent increase and suggesting that clean-energy technologies not only “are catalysts for new job creation but also are transforming and providing new streams of revenue for traditional industry sectors, such as the building trades.”
The report says companies in the field predict a 6 percent increase in the clean-economy workforce in the next 12 months. The diverse areas supporting these jobs include energy efficiency – the largest segment, which added 2,900 new jobs in 2015 – renewable generation, renewable heating and cooling and alternative transportation.
The report adds that renewable energy jobs grew by 84 percent over 2015 employment levels, “partially driven by the state’s first-in-the-nation offshore wind farm, as well as an expansion of the solar industry in Rhode Island.”
EC RI Director Presents RENEW Multi-family at ACEEE Energy Efficiency Finance Forum
EC Rhode Island Director Brigid Ryan described ECC’s RENEW Multi-family Program and its on-bill repayment feature at this year’s ACEEE Energy Efficiency Finance Forum in Newport, R.Is. – the second year in a row that RENEW was on the forum’s agenda. Last year, EC San Francisco Director Avni Jamdar spoke at the Finance Forum in her city.
Ryan’s presentation was part of a panel focusing on multi-family on-bill success stories. She explained that the Washington State Housing Finance Commission – which loaned money to Plymouth Housing Group and other Seattle-based nonprofit affordable building owners for energy and water efficiency upgrades – is allowing repayment of those loans as part of their utility bill payments to Seattle City Light, the local electric utility. In addition, the Housing Commission provided affordable, accessible financing – an unsecured loan at 2 percent interest.