Rhode Island

RHODE ISLAND

At 1,545 square miles, Rhode Island is geographically the smallest state in the United States but one of the most densely populated for its size, with 1,059,361 residents as of July 1, 2019. For a state that is only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long, it is notable that its shoreline on Narragansett Bay in the Atlantic Ocean runs for 400 miles. Called the Ocean State, Rhode Island is one-third water and includes Block Island further offshore, as well as one of New England’s deep water ports at Providence.

The impacts of climate change upon Rhode Island’s built and natural environments are wide-ranging, discernible and documented, and, in many cases growing in severity. Rhode Island will experience warmer air and water temperatures, more extreme weather events such as droughts, intense precipitation, severe storms and flooding, increasing rates of sea level rise, shorter winters and longer summers, and less snowfall and ice coverage. Climate change has the potential to pose significant risks for Rhode Island’s water, wastewater, surface transportation, and energy infrastructures and utilities, the natural environment, and the health, welfare, and economic well-being of its citizens.

Rhode Island became, in 2007, a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based program to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation in 11 of the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. They had already joined a number of New England states in 1996, to implement an electricity restructuring plan that separated power generation from transmission and distribution. The restructuring plan was initially only for industrial customers, but was expanded in 1998 to include commercial and residential customers. As a result, all of the state’s electricity generated by the electric power sector comes from independent power producers. The previous exception was on Block Island—located about 9 miles south of the state’s coastline—which was not connected to the mainland grid and was dependent on local diesel-fueled generators. Generator fuel arrived in trucks ferried to the island. Because fuel prices sometimes caused Block Island’s electricity costs to rise to more than four times the state’s average, particularly in summer when rates and electricity demand increased with the influx of tourists, the island participated in the nation’s first offshore wind project. In May 2017, Block Island Power turned off its diesel generators and began receiving power from an undersea cable installed between an offshore wind farm with 5 turbines, Block Island, and the mainland. The cable allowed, in conjunction with the wind farm, electricity to reach Block Island for the first time and allowed excess wind-generated electric power to be forwarded to the onshore grid.

Rhode Island thus became the first state in the U.S. with an off-shore wind farm (however small). Nonetheless, natural gas provides the bulk of the state’s electricity (and more than any other state) –about 89% in 2020 –2% down from 2019. Most of the rest of the state’s net generation came from solar, wind, and biomass resources with a small amount generated from petroleum and hydropower. This will change radically, when the 400-megawatt Revolution Wind Farm, being developed in Rhode Island Sound by the Danish company Orsted, comes on line in 2024. It is expected to supply a full third of Rhode Island’s electricity with renewables. A number of other renewable-energy projects are also completed or in the pipeline, including large solar farms in places like Cranston and Hopkinton, as well as land-based wind turbines in Providence, Coventry and Johnston. Rhode Island produces neither natural gas nor petroleum.

The residential sector leads Rhode Island’s energy consumption, accounting for about one-third of the state’s total, the fourth-highest share for a state’s residential sector energy use after Connecticut, Vermont & New Hampshire. The transportation sector is a close second, consuming slightly less than 30% of the state’s energy. The commercial sector accounts for about one-fourth of the state’s energy consumption, and the industrial sector accounts for more than one-tenth.

Rhode Island has taken actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, often through executive orders issued by the Governor. In 2015, building on the Resilient Rhode Island Act (2014), which set targets for reducing greenhouse emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, Governor Gina Raimondo instructed state agencies to reduce energy use by 10% by 2019, committed the state to obtain 100% renewable energy by 2025, and required the State Fleet to purchase a minimum of 25% zero-emission vehicles by 2025. In the spring of 2017, she doubled down, announcing a new goal of 1,000 MW and 20,000 clean energy jobs by 2020. According to the 2020 Rhode Island Clean Energy Industry Report, the clean energy labor force of Rhode Island has grown by 77.3% since 2014.

In the fall of 2017, she took additional executive action calling for the development of the state’s first comprehensive climate preparedness strategy.

A year later in the summer of 2018, the resulting Resilient Rhody report was released outlining an actionable vision for addressing the impacts of climate change in Rhode Island. It focuses on critical infrastructure and utilities, natural systems, emergency preparedness, and community health and resilience.

Rhode Island is the first state to have placed a 100% renewable electricity target as early as 2030, following another executive order by Raimondo before leaving to join the Biden administration, in January, 2020. The closest is Washington, D.C., which is aiming for 2032.

Sitting in on a meeting with Barrington, R.I.’s  Resilience & Energy Committee  a few weeks after the IPCC’s report was released in August, 2021, as they explore solar solutions in Barrington demonstrates the concerns in the state. Some believe the two initiatives that guide residential solar in Rhode Island — the Renewable Energy Growth Program and net metering — need to be revamped to better address the needs and wants of residential solar customers.

Rhode Island is one of twenty-four states, along with Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is working to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

Whitehouse Bill Would Tighten, Clarify Process of Approving Offshore Wind Projects

By Mary Lhowe 01/10/24
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has released an early draft of a proposed bill that would streamline the process of proposing, permitting, and building offshore wind projects, as well as moving the electricity…
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New England storm aftermath: Shoreline flooding, evacuations, and washed-out roads

By Emily Sweeney and others 01/10/24
A pounding rainstorm that lashed the region overnight caused extensive flooding along the coast Wednesday, washing out roads, engulfing vehicles, and forcing evacuations in Rhode Island and Hampton, N.H. The storm dropped several inches of…
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Questions Surround Rhode Island’s Calls for More Renewable Energy

By Frank Carini 08/31/23
Rhode Island lawmakers have passed laws and resolutions and governors have signed executive orders during the past several years that called for more renewable energy. Among those calls include generating all of the state’s electricity…
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DOI Approves Major Offshore Wind Project

By Sydney Leimbach 08/23/23
The Department of the Interior has approved the Biden administration’s fourth major offshore wind development, the Revolution Wind project, off the coast of Rhode Island.
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Number of Ocean State Beach Closures Highest in Nearly 20 Years

By Rob Smith 08/21/23
There is still a month left of summer, and Rhode Island has already seen the highest number of beach closures in nearly two decades.
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SouthCoast Wind Asks R.I. Court to Overturn Pause of Contract Consideration

By Rob Smith 08/21/23
An offshore wind developer has asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court to overturn a decision by state energy regulators to pause consideration of its application for an offshore wind project with an export cable that…
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‘Adding Insult to Injury:’ R.I. Needs Renewable Energy

By Tyson Bottenus 08/21/23
For years, the residents of Rhode Island have had their sights set on offshore wind coming to our state to power pretty much everything. We got our first taste in 2016 with the Block Island…
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SouthCoast Wind Offshore Project Application Approval Put on Hold

By Rob Smith 07/14/23
State energy regulators this week decided to delay approval of a proposed offshore wind project that would have run an export cable along the bottom of the Sakonnet River.
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Making climate data actionable for RI communities

By Jessica Filante Farrington and John Emra 06/21/23
Across the nation, communities consistently look for ways to ensure that their infrastructure withstands the test of time. But as Rhode Island’s state and municipal leaders gaze into the future, they can see climate change…
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Climate change education legislation in Rhode Island dies

By Glenn Branch 06/21/23
When the Rhode Island legislature adjourned on June 15, 2023, two pairs of climate change education bills, House Bill 6105 (PDF) and the identical Senate Bill 551 (PDF), and House Bill 6106 (PDF) and the…
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Secretary Haaland Highlights President’s Investing in America Agenda in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

06/16/23
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland completed a multi-day visit to Massachusetts and Rhode Island today where she highlighted how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and America the Beautiful initiative are restoring our nations…
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Orsted to buy out wind farm seabed rights from Eversource Energy

05/25/23
Orsted A/S, one of the world’s largest developers of offshore wind energy, announced Thursday that it had agreed to buy the interests of its partner Eversource Energy LLC for the uncontracted federal offshore wind lease…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Report: Clean energy employment rebounds in R.I., qualified workers needed

06/19/23
Rhode Island’s clean energy industry has begun to bounce back. After shedding nearly 20% of the sector’s job during the height of the pandemic, the industry is repopulating although qualified workers are hard to find,…

SouthCoast Wind Backs Out of Deals to Renegotiate Better Ones

06/15/23
The state’s chief energy regulator is expressing concerns about how much latitude offshore wind developers have to walk away from signed contracts and renegotiate better deals.

Solar projects razed a 1,000 acres of trees in 5 years. Would this bill protect forests?

06/13/23
Legislation aiming to rein in deforestation caused by solar development is moving forward in the General Assembly in a new version designed to phase out an incentive program that critics say is largely responsible for…

‘Now Is the Time’ for Offshore Wind, U.S. Energy Official Says; R.I. on Leading Edge

06/05/23
Offshore wind is having its moment, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm at a Quonset roundtable during a visit to the state Friday, and it’s only going to get bigger. “I hope you feel…

Rhode Island Picks up the Pace on Clean Cars & Trucks

05/22/23
A little over a month ago we published a blog celebrating Massachusetts’ formal adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II standard and pointing out that Rhode Island was slow-walking on the standard. We are happy…

Clean Energy Is A Breeze

05/01/23
lobal energy leader Ørsted and New England’s largest electric services provider, Eversource, are transforming the future of energy resources, while streamlining the region’s zealous renewable and zero-carbon energy goals.

How Rhode Island Makes Solar Panels More Accessible

By Sarah Drolet 04/12/23
For such a small state, Rhode Island has big plans for renewable energy -- and big ways to save on your power bill by going solar. Rhode Island has an ambitious goal of supplying 100%…

Solar neighborhoods act under consideration in Rhode Island

03/30/23
Today, a Rhode Island legislative committee is considering a bill that would require most new construction in the state to include solar panels as part of the initial construction.

Proposed Legislation Would Bolster Renewable Energy, Protect Core Forests

03/27/23
It was a different kind of sunshine week in the Legislature when lawmakers on the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee last week considered a suite of bills to overhaul Rhode Island’s solar policy.

Solar development can mean a loss of open space. These bills aim to control that in Rhode Island

03/24/23
In one important area, Rhode Island’s policies around the environment are at odds with each other. The state is pushing for more solar power and other forms of renewable energy to battle climate change, but…

Rhode Island bill would require solar in new construction

03/23/23
SOLAR: A Rhode Island bill would require new buildings to add on-site solar generation except in a handful of cases, such as if other renewable energy projects are already being incorporated. (Go Local Prov)

Proposed bill would provide cleaner green energy without raising electric rates

03/22/23
Making energy affordable, clean, and reliable is the focus of new Rhode Island legislation. Senate Bill 504, sponsored by Sen. Alaina DiMario, D-North Kingston, would propose a plan that would work to ensure renewable energy,…

Unions, environmentalists call for ‘decarbonizing’ R.I. public schools

03/21/23
A coalition of unions and environmentalists on Tuesday called for Rhode Island to “decarbonize” all its public school buildings by 2035 by shifting them from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Climate Jobs Rhode Island…

Rhode Island to evaluate sole offshore wind proposal

03/20/23
Rhode Island Energy has said it will evaluate the sole proposal it saw as part of its latest offshore wind procurement round. A joint proposal from Orsted and Eversource to develop 884MW of offshore wind…

Rhode Island Is Struggling To Realize Its Offshore Wind Potential

03/20/23
Rhode Island is making strides in the renewable energy sector, with plans to develop offshore wind energy. Governor McKee recently announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 600 to 1,000 megawatts of newly developed offshore…

Municipal Aggregation Comes to Rhode Island! Greener power at lower cost.

03/16/23
Blog headerWe're excited to announce the start of something good in Rhode Island. Seven cities and towns have adopted “green municipal aggregation” as a way to add more renewable energy to their electricity supply affordably.…

Auto-Enrollment in New RI Electricity Program, City to host Meetings

03/16/23
The city of Newport is automatically enrolling Rhode Island Energy customers in a new community energy aggregation program, which promises to save customers money and use more renewable energy.The program, dubbed Newport Community Electricity, will…

Rhode Island Energy Seeks Natural Gas Rate Hike

03/11/23
Natural gas ratepayers may be dealing with another rise in prices next month. Under new gas and electric rates filed with the state Public Utilities Commission by Rhode Island Energy, ratepayers who use natural gas…

Rhode Island regulators discuss ban on new natural gas hookups

02/10/23
BUILDINGS: Rhode Island’s top utility regulator says a ban on new natural gas hookups may be necessary to meet the state’s climate goals: “If not tomorrow, then when?” (Energy News Network)

Rhode Island climate goals may require statewide ban on new gas hookups

02/09/23
The chair of the state’s Public Utilities Commission said Thursday that a statewide ban on new gas hookups could be necessary to meet the state’s mandatory target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Rhode Island…

CRMC, Seeking More Time to Review Revolution Wind Project, Moves Hearing to March 14

02/09/23
The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) has rescheduled a Feb. 14 hearing on the Revolution Wind project to March 14.

How Well Is Rhode Island Preparing For Water Efficiency, Conservation?

01/18/23
Despite prolonged drought conditions, California, Texas and Arizona led the nation in water efficiency and conservation in a new analysis of state policy released Wednesday by the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Rhode Island ranked No.…

How to get solar to low-income families? Rhode Island has a new plan

01/16/23
Solar companies will partner with the state government to install and lease solar arrays with the aim of saving money for homeowners from the start.

Seminole offers $104 mn debt for Rhode Island solar project

01/14/23
Seminole Financial Services, in partnership with Blackstone Credit, announces the closing of a $104 million debt facility for the construction of a 55+MW Rhode Island solar project.

Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Growth Program Gets Boost

01/11/23
The 4.9 megawatt Woodville project by Freepoint Solar LLC has been acquired by Standard Solar who will be the owner/operator of the project. The companies have a history of working together to increase clean energy…

New England states poised to capitalize on new federal climate law incentives

10/24/22
Years of work crafting climate and clean energy plans have left New England states in a prime position to take advantage of renewable energy incentives in the historic climate bill enacted by Congress over the…

Rhode Island governor signs ‘most aggressive renewable energy standard’ in US, targets 100% offsets by 2033

By Robert Walton 06/30/22
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, D, on Wednesday signed legislation requiring the state’s electricity use to be completely offset by renewables by 2033. According to the governor’s office, it is “the most aggressive renewable energy…

Rhode Island governor signs bill committing state to 100% renewable sources for electricity by 2033

06/30/22
Daniel McKee signed a bill into law Wednesday that sets Rhode Island on the fastest path to 100% renewable electricity of any state in the nation. The legislation (H277/S2274) imposes incrementally rising annual benchmarks for…

Rhode Island Ports to Undergo Offshore Wind Upgrades with USD 95 Million State Support

03/21/22
At the beginning of this year, State Governor Dan McKee announced that his FY2023 budget and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending plan would propose more than USD 150 million to fund a series of…

RI plans to buy more offshore wind power to help meet goal of 100% renewable energy

03/19/22
Gov. Dan McKee is moving ahead with a plan to ramp up Rhode Island’s supply of power from offshore wind farms that would be developed off the coast of Southern New England.

Bill would require RI to get all electricity from renewable sources by 2030

03/13/22
Experts say that when it comes to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as required by a landmark climate change measure enacted into law last year, the conversion of Rhode Island’s electric system to…

Rhode Island PUC Approves Rate Increases to Fund Energy Programs

02/06/22
National Grid estimates residential electric customers who use an average of 500 kilowatt-hours a month will have an increase of 57 cents on their monthly bills allocated specifically for EEP. Gas customers using 702 therms…

Groups urge bigger targets, more equity as RGGI states consider changes

12/21/21
As the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, undergoes a thorough review by participating states, environmental advocates are demanding more ambitious emission reduction targets and a mandate for equitable distribution of the revenues.

100 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2030

10/25/21
Reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions across the state’s electric, heating, and transportation sectors is integral to climate change mitigation and achieving long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets consistent with the Resilient Rhode Island Act. By accelerating…

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources receives US Department of Energy funding for refrigeration energy management

09/15/21
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) today announced that it has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) to help grocery stores strategically use energy in a way that reduces…

Barrington Climate Committee Focuses On Solar to Address Crisis

09/13/21
The town’s Resilience and Energy Committee forms an off-kilter circle on the edge of the parking lot around the back of Town Hall. Seven sit in folding chairs, one on a cargo mat dragged from…

Rhode Island Solar Development Needs to Change Its Focus to Rooftops and Already-Marred Areas

07/29/21
Dana Goodman sells and her company installs residential rooftop solar systems in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In the Bay State, she said it’s an easier and simpler process. She doesn’t know why Rhode Island…

Governor’s Veto of Renewable Energy Bill Viewed as Backing National Grid

07/19/21
Gov. Dan McKee issued the first veto of his administration to block a bill aimed at moving costs from renewable energy companies to National Grid, while also possibly affecting the siting of future transmission facilities.

Act: Relating To Health And Safety – Transportation Emissions And Mobile (Team) Community Act

05/07/21
There is scientific consensus that Earth's climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities; climate change…

Rhode Island Governor Signs ‘Act On Climate’ Into Law

By Rachel Nunes 04/12/21
 Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed the state's new, ambitious climate bill into law by the state's iconic coast this weekend.

McKee Signs Aggressive Climate Law – Filippi Says It Increases Costs for RI Businesses & Residents

By Go Localprov Team 04/10/21
On Saturday, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed the 2021 Act on Climate -- legislation that updates the state's climate-emission reduction goals.  

Act: Relating To Public Utilities And Carriers-renewable Energy

03/17/21
Starting in compliance year 2007, all obligated entities shall obtain at least three percent (3%) of the electricity they sell at retail to Rhode Island end-use customers, adjusted for electric ine losses, from eligible renewable…

Act: Relating To State Affairs And Government — Environmental Justice

01/26/21
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows: SECTION 1. Title 42 of the General Laws entitled "STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:

Preparing for Climate Change in Rhode Island

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Rhode Island is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Rhode Island Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan

04/10/19
In accordance with the provisions of Rhode Island General Laws §42-6.2-2(2), I am pleased to provide you with the following “EC4 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan,” which includes strategies, programs, and actions to meet the…

State of Rhode Island : Governor’s Climate Priorities

04/10/19
Governor Raimondo's climate goals and actions.

KEY RESOURCES

Rhode Island Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

02/11/22
Rhode Island brings to mind images of warm, sunny days on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. And, with 200 to 210 days of sunshine each year, Rhode Island is an ideal state for those…

Rhode Island State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/19/21
Rhode Island's mainland wraps around Narragansett Bay with its many islands. Called the Ocean State, Rhode Island is one-third water and includes Block Island further offshore, as well as one of New England's deepwater ports…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Climate Literacy

06/03/21
It is essential for all Rhode Islanders to have a general understanding of the influence climate and weather has on human society, and how human actions influence climate and weather patterns. It is also important…

New Report Calls for Building a Climate Resilient Providence

03/29/21
 The city’s vulnerabilities to climate change, including the risk from storm surge, sea-level rise, and more frequent and intense rains, are urgent and will increase in the next decade to unmanageable levels, according to a…

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Rhode Island

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Rhode Island experienced two severe winter storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Rhode Island

08/06/20
Rhode Island is vulnerable to increasing temperatures, floods and droughts, and coastal flooding

Local Efforts to Address Climate Crisis Make Difference

01/20/20
During a weeklong bonus session of the General Assembly in September 2017, both the House and Senate approved bills that require Rhode Island municipal planning board members to undergo training related to the impacts of…

Climate Action RI • 350 RI

06/07/19
Climate Action RI is an action group focused specifically on the issue of climate change and what can be done on national, local, and individual levels. We are based in Rhode Island and are a…

Rhode Island’s Changing Climate: Building Resilience Through Local Solutions

04/10/19
The aim is to inform Rhode Island residents of the mechanism of climate change and localize the issue by showcasing Rhode Island impacts, as well as positive adaptation efforts happening in the state. Through sharing…

Rhode Island v. Chevron Corp.

09/24/21
State of Rhode Island lawsuit seeking to hold fossil fuel companies liable for causing climate change impacts that adversely affect Rhode Island and jeopardize State-owned or -operated facilities, real property, and other assets.

MORE NEWS

R.I. to hire new chief resilience officer to combat climate change

By PBN Staff   05/22/23  
Gov. Daniel J. McKee signed an executive order Monday to reestablish the position of a R.I. chief resilience officer to lead implementation of the state’s comprehensive climate-preparedness strategy. The new person will work at the…
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Secretly Funded Climate Obstruction Keeps the Fossil Fuel Fires Burning

By Frank Carini   05/18/23  
Paid shills for the fossil fuel industry are so proud of their affiliation they hide it. They are paid to lie and misrepresent facts — all in the name of protecting the filthy rich. They…
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US Supreme Court ruling clears RI to pursue climate-change case against oil, gas companies

By Alex Kuffner   04/24/23  
Rhode Island’s landmark climate-change lawsuit was bolstered Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused a petition from some of the largest fossil-fuel companies in the world to consider whether the case and others like it…
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Property rights, climate change collide over plan to build house on stilts in Narragansett

By Jim Hummel   04/13/23  
A controversial proposal to build a house on an undersized lot — that is nearly half wetlands and adjacent to the Narrow River — is pitting questions of property rights against neighborhood compatibility and climate…
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Whale of a Tale: Local Anti-Wind Crowd Spins Yarns

By Frank Carini   04/06/23  
As Earth spins into a deepening climate crisis, how we continue to power society will determine our fate. So far, our actions have been guided by greed, selfishness, and lies. Bad actors and special interests…
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Climate change, lack of maintenance threaten Providence infrastructure

By Liliana Greyf   04/02/23  
The Providence Preservation Society listed all of Providence’s infrastructure on its 2023 Most Endangered Properties List released January, a decision made due to the city’s vulnerability to climate change, according to PPS Advocacy Manager Adriana…
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Fisherman Friendly Climate Action

By Paul Molyneaux   03/27/23  
Late in 2022, a group of industry people including fishermen and consultants volunteered to work on the idea of helping fishermen increase efficiency and save money. But rather than impose its ideas on fishermen, the…
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The Latest IPCC Report & What It Means for Massachusetts & Rhode Island

By Larry Chretien & Anna Vanderspek   03/25/23  
On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most recent report, which states in no uncertain terms that we need to increase the pace of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. To avoid the…
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RI climate activists want to end fossil fuel investments

By Melanie DaSilva and Dana Casullo   03/21/23  
Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI) members were in Providence Tuesday morning to announce a new campaign encouraging de-investing from the fossil fuel industry. This comes after the United Nations released its new climate change report.…
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Warren official tells U.S. Senate panel climate change threatens character of small towns

By Alex Kuffner   03/02/23  
Climate change is already costing Warren money. Last year, the little waterfront town in the East Bay completed a $22-million project to elevate its wastewater-treatment plant above rising seas. The debt service alone on that…
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Funding for Vital Rhode Island Climate Agency Again Urged

By Rob Smith   02/24/23  
Environmental groups are asking lawmakers to fund a state climate panel without “scooping” dollars from climate-friendly programs.
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New York’s Wind Power Future Is Taking Shape. In Rhode Island.

By Patrick McGeehan   02/22/23  
When Gov. Kathy Hochul laid out her plan for accelerating the development of New York’s offshore wind industry a year ago, she promised thousands of jobs for state residents.
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Vermont Joins Multi-State Effort to Create Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub in Northeast

02/09/23  
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced Vermont has signed on to a multi-state agreement, joining with New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, to develop a proposal to become one of up to…
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After last summer’s drought, Rhode Island farmers prepare for climate challenges

By Mahin Ashfaq   02/08/23  
A relatively short but severe drought last August disrupted food production in Rhode Island, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare all of Rhode Island a natural disaster area. With climate change, such events…
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Record cold in US Northeast exposes deepening cracks in social infrastructure

By Kate Randall   02/05/23  
The Northeast US was hit with the coldest temperatures seen in decades over the weekend as an arctic air mass passed over the region. The polar vortex was accompanied by powerful winds, driving wind chills…
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Top environmental issues facing RI lawmakers in 2023: Solar farm siting, curbing emissions

By Alex Kuffner   01/21/23  
How do you follow up on two legislative sessions that have been heralded as the best for policymaking on the environment in Rhode Island history?
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Climate Change Council, Blue Economy to See Funding Boosts Under McKee’s Proposed Budget

By Rob Smith   01/21/23  
Under the budget proposal released by Gov. Dan McKee on Jan. 19, the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) would receive $4.5 million for staffing and operations. The EC4, despite being designated the lead agency…
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New England clean energy goals slam into oil reality

By Miranda Willson   01/18/23  
New England power plants burned more oil for electricity on a single day during last month’s deep freeze than they have in four years, underscoring the gap between Northeastern states’ clean energy targets and the…
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Solar program aims to cut energy costs for lower-income Rhode Island residents

01/10/23  
The New England state recently issued a request for proposals from solar companies to partner on a program that will lease and install solar equipment on homes owned by low- to moderate-income residents. Solar program…
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Boston Is Losing Its Snow Wicked Fast

By Katherine J. Wu   12/19/22  
My first winter in Boston, the last patches of snow on my street didn’t melt until late June. It was 2015, the year the city broke its all-time record for annual snowfall: 110.3 inches, more…
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Global Warming Likely to Bring Climate Chaos to Ocean State

By Rob Smith   11/11/22  
That’s the message coming out of the COP27 climate summit under way in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, as world leaders and diplomats engage in talks to attempt to halt the disastrous effects of climate change. Despite…
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Rhode Island governor signs ‘most aggressive renewable energy standard’ in US, targets 100% offsets by 2033

By Robert Walton   06/30/22  
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, D, on Wednesday signed legislation requiring the state’s electricity use to be completely offset by renewables by 2033. According to the governor’s office, it is “the most aggressive renewable energy…
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16 States Ask 1st Circ. To Redo Rhode Island Climate Case

By Press Room   06/29/22  
Sixteen Republican-led states are backing oil corporations of their bid to persuade the First Circuit to rethink a jurisdictional dispute in Rhode Island’s swimsuit over local weather change impacts, arguing the underlying disaster is international…
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RI climate suit gets boost with decision affirming it belongs in state court

By Alex Kuffner   05/25/22  
For the second time in two years, a federal appeals court has upheld a ruling that sends Rhode Island's climate lawsuit against some of the world’s largest fossil-fuel companies back to state court. he U.S.…
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United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit

05/23/22  
This is our second pass at a climate-change case that requires us to explore the mind-numbing complexities of federal removal jurisdiction
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New noaa climate projections forecast increase in southern new england flooding

By Frank Carini   03/23/22  
The climate crisis has taken root. The United Nations’ latest climate report explains how deep this worldwide problem is embedded. Closer to home, another report published last month is equally alarming, for the present and…
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Ocean State Kelp Farmer Sees ‘Incredible Potential’ in Industry

By Cynthia Drummond   03/21/22  
Farmed kelp represents a tiny share of Rhode Island’s aquaculture revenue, but Azure Cygler believes that as more people recognize its nutritional and environmental benefits, its popularity will grow.
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Rebuild or Retreat? Newport Eyes Cliff Walk’s Eroding Future

By Jennifer McDermott   03/18/22  
Newport, Rhode Island, is in a bind: Should the city continue propping up its landmark Cliff Walk, even though chunks of the path keep crumbling into the sea? Last week, coastal erosion knocked out 30…
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Local Reaction to Latest Climate Report Stresses Need to Act Now, Protect Most Vulnerable

By Frank Carini   03/10/22  
The sixth assessment by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is three times longer than Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” and has all the calamity of the Bible. The United Nations’ landmark reports…
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Utility Wants to End Solar Canopies Pilot Program

By Rob Smith   03/08/22  
The electric utility, in its 2022 Renewable Energy Growth Program filing, has proposed eliminating its solar carport pilot program, citing rising costs and lack of benefits to ratepayers. The program, which began in 2020, is…
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Narragansett Electric sale on hold indefinitely. How the cost of electricity in MA stopped it

By Alex Kuffner   03/03/22  
On Thursday, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld a stay of a decision by that state’s energy regulators that’s needed for the sale to proceed of National Grid’s electric and natural gas operation in…
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Rhode Island PUC Approves Rate Increases to Fund Energy Programs

By Rob Smith   02/06/22  
Residents can expect to see a modest bump in their utility bills this year to support energy-efficiency programs. The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently approved new rates for National Grid’s energy-efficiency programs (EEP).
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Bill Would Increase Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Standard Over Next 10 Years

By Rob Smith   02/05/22  
State lawmakers are eyeing increases in the Renewable Energy Standard, a move that could prove a windfall for renewable energy projects. Under legislation (H7277) introduced by Rep. Deb Ruggiero, D-Jamestown, the standard would be raised…
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Government Return of Environmental Bills Held for Further Study Planned for New General Assembly Session

By Rob Smith   01/03/22  
Rhode Island legislators return to the General Assembly chambers this week, and environmental advocates are hoping to pass an ambitious agenda. The Legislature is expected to consider a number of environment and climate-related bills that…
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Government R.I. has No Plan to Reduce Transportation Emissions

By Rob Smith   01/01/22  
Rhode Island lawmakers are going into the new legislative session with no clear plan to reduce transportation-sector emissions, after neighboring states pulled out of the regional Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) late last year.
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Inside Clean Energy: Here Are 5 States that Took Leaps on Clean Energy Policy in 2021

By Dan Gearino   12/23/21  
It’s understandable if people are feeling dour during this unseasonably warm December when, once again, the U.S. Congress has failed to pass major climate legislation.
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Groups urge bigger targets, more equity as RGGI states consider changes

By Lisa Prevost   12/21/21  
As the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI, undergoes a thorough review by participating states, environmental advocates are demanding more ambitious emission reduction targets and a mandate for equitable distribution of the revenues.
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Rhode Island Clean Marina Program

10/04/21  
Watch Hill Boat Yard, Newport Yacht Club, and Safe Harbor Wickford Cove were designated as Clean Marinas under Rhode Island’s Clean Marina Program, adopted by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) in 2007,…
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Grant helps URI, Penn State researchers study sea-level rise

10/03/21  
Researchers at the University of Rhode Island and their colleagues at Penn State have been awarded a four-year, $1.5 million grant to study the effects of sea level rise and how it may worsen the…
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Climate activists say Rhode Island is “already behind” on emissions reduction planning

By Sofie Rudin   09/30/21  
Rhode Island passed landmark climate legislation last spring, mandating that the state cut emissions to net zero by 2050. Six months later, environmental activists say the state has done little to begin implementing the law.
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For Many On Coast, Climate Crisis Means Rising Insurance Rates

By Caitlin Faulds   09/27/21  
The country’s largest flood insurer is changing how it analyzes risk, and it could signal a reckoning for coastal communities.
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Taming the torrent won’t be cheap: Climate projects in Providence need federal money

By Alex Kuffner   09/17/21  
A network of streams and ponds once cut through the East Side of Providence. When rain fell, runoff followed the topography down through a watershed that encompassed the area around what is now Blackstone Boulevard.
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Climate Action Rhode Island takes on Thayer Street to protest JPMorgan Chase’s funding of fossil fuels

By Jasper Yeh   09/15/21  
Members of Climate Action Rhode Island marched on Thayer Street Wednesday protesting JPMorgan Chase’s funding of fossil fuel companies. The group carried large signs reading “Chase funds death” and “Stop Chase the toxic bank” as…
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Brown climate researcher warns of rising seas, flooding in R.I.

By Edward Fitzpatrick   09/09/21  
As the Ocean State, with nearly 400 miles of coastline, Rhode Island will face not only rising sea levels but also more frequent flooding in the years ahead, a Brown University climate researcher said on…
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DEM offering 1,000 free trees to Rhode Island residents

By Tim Studebaker   09/09/21  
For the 7th year in a row, the Rhode Island DEM is back with a program aimed at helping homeowners beautify their property, reduce their energy costs, and help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,…
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‘We Were Warned:’ Rhode Island and Sixth IPCC Climate Report

By Caitlin Faulds   09/02/21  
“It is getting increasingly dire,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. said in an Aug. 9 speech on the Senate floor about climate action, hours after the release of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC)…
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Rhode Island’s Warming Marine Waters Force Iconic Species Out, Disrupt Catch Limits and Change Ecosystem Services

By Frank Carini   08/02/21  
For generations, winter flounder was one of the most important fish in Rhode Island waters. Longtime recreational fisherman Rich Hittinger recalled taking his kids fishing in the 1980s, dropping anchor, letting their lines sink to…
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Act On Climate: Legislators and Activists Offer Thoughts On Where R.I. Goes After Passing Highly Touted Climate Law

By Brian P. D. Hannon   07/26/21  
Sue AnderBois compares Rhode Island’s Act on Climate legislation to an annual New Year’s resolution to get healthier, but with the addition of a realistic path to achieving the lofty goal rather than a vague…
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Winds of Change

By Joseph Healy   06/24/21  
Almost 20 years ago, the construction of offshore wind farms seemed imminent off New England. Energy entrepreneurs were proselytizing about the lower electric rates and sustainable advantages of wind power, which was growing exponentially in…
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