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Rhode Island Jobs Maintained by Focus on Energy

Posted on May 5, 2009

A continued focus on energy preservation will help create and maintain Rhode Island jobs.

Gov. Donald L. Carcieri recently announced that the Office of Economic Recovery and Reinvestment has created an Energy Review Team to help develop a statewide energy plan for the investment of funds available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The team also will help develop a statewide, competitive grant process to distribute funds for energy programs.

Under the ARRA, Rhode Island will receive $58 million in funds dedicated to a number of energy initiatives, including $20 million for weatherization programs; $14.5 million for state and municipal programs and $24 million for other energy activities.

“A main goal of the Recovery Act is support energy programs that create and retain jobs, realize energy savings for families, businesses, government and educational institutions, reduce our dependency on foreign energy sources, and achieve environmental benefits,” Carcieri said in a press release.

“Rhode Island has set an aggressive goal of 20 percent of the state’s energy use be renewable sources and is well poised to develop this nation’s first off shore wind project,” Carcieri continued. “These funds will help bring about clean, green power that is not subject to variations in fuel prices, and will bolster a new green economy and create green jobs for Rhode Islanders.”

The Energy Review Team must provide a comprehensive plan to the Federal Department of Energy by May 12th. Andy Dzykewicz, commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, and Jeffrey Seamann, dean of the College of Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island and co-chair of the Rhode Island Science and Technology Council, will serve as the team’s co-chairs.

Based on federal guidelines, loans, grants and incentives particularly for energy efficiency retrofits and installing renewable energy measures will focus on renewable energy projects including but not limited to offshore wind; geothermal and solar hot water projects for public and non-profit buildings and facilities and training and demonstration of renewable technologies.

Grants for building retrofits will focus on:

  • energy efficiency performance contracting, providing assistance for technical support such as preparation of requests for proposals and third party measurement and verification for building and facility owners to work with energy service companies on energy efficiency retrofits and conservation projects
  • grants, loans and incentives for fuel neutral energy efficiency retrofits for the 42 percent of the state that use heating oil and aren’t served by existing programs
  • establishing revolving loan funds for energy efficiency retrofits, particularly for sectors not reached by other programs including low, moderate income residents who do not qualify for low income heating assistance
  • voluntary programs that impact new design including carbon neutral mixed use development projects
  • outreach and education projects including use of smart metering, Web pages and other computer applications to extend the reach of efforts to actively engage residents and businesses in efficiency and conservation efforts
  • establishment and enforcement of energy efficiency building codes and standards, which are underway with the collaboration of the General Assembly and the State Building Code Office
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