The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

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Rhode Island

RI Action Alert: Ask your Legislators to Support the Building Decarbonization Act!

There are weeks not months left in Rhode Island’s 2024 legislative session, which means we must act urgently to pass crucial legislation for climate. 

This year, our top priority is the Building Decarbonization Act (H7617/S2952), as Rhode Island is not currently on track to achieve the emissions reductions required by the Act on Climate, and that is especially true in the building sector which makes up over a third of the state's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

New EPA Vehicle Standards & What They Mean for Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Recently, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final vehicle emissions regulations for vehicle model years 2027 through 2032. You’ve likely seen lots of headlines about this. As the New York Times put it, “in terms of lowering the emissions that are heating the planet, this regulation does more than any other climate rule issued by the federal government and more than any measure planned in the remainder of Mr. Biden’s first term." In this blog, we’ll cover what these regulations are, why they’re so important, and how they interact with electric vehicle (EV) policies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Picture of Anna Vanderspek Anna Vanderspek

How to Get Trusted Advice on Heat Pumps for your Home

Converting our heating systems from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps is an urgent step in our process of cleaning up our act in the face of mounting climate catastrophes. Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island have ambitious goals and generous incentives to speed that transition, but figuring out when and how to make the switch for your own property remains a complicated question.

Loie Hayes

The Future of Gas in Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Utility-supplied natural gas (methane) is the primary heating fuel in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, supplying 52% and 54% of homes, respectively. Given their mandates to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, both states are exploring strategies to transition away from their prevalent gas distribution systems. However, reducing and ultimately eliminating emissions from the heating sector, and doing so in a manner that minimizes costs to utility consumers and the state, is a formidable policy challenge. It will be an interesting journey, but one that must be taken.

Amanda Barker & Carrie Katan

Offshore Wind Critical to Preservation of a Livable & Equitable Future

The climate crisis demands a fundamental cultural shift in our energy system. Revolution Wind 1 and the South Fork Wind projects off Rhode Island’s coast meet a critical need for large-scale carbon-free electricity generation in the Northeast. Two stewards of historic and cultural structures, the Preservation Society of Newport County and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation, recently positioned their organizations at odds with these projects in a group of appeals that cite alleged impacts to ocean views.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

What’s Needed in Rhode Island Energy EV Filing

We have been attending Rhode Island Energy’s (RIE’s) quarterly Power Sector Transformation sessions for a few years to learn about and advise on electrification initiatives in the state. At the most recent session, we learned that Rhode Island plans to submit an Electric Vehicle Program Filing with the PUC this Fall. Given that transportation is the largest source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the state, RIE’s EV programming will be a key piece of Rhode Island’s approach to meeting the emissions reduction mandate of the Act on Climate. Recognizing this important role, we submitted this memoto key stakeholders detailing what we think RIE EV programs must include to result in adequate emissions reductions. Below are our four main points:

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Rhode Island Update: DRIVE EV & E-Bike Rebate Programs

UPDATE: The DRIVE EV and Erica Niedowski e-bike rebate programs have paused application acceptance until the week of September 18, 2023, due to funding issues.

 

July is a big month for Driving Rhode Island to Vehicle Electrification (DRIVE EV) announcements! Last July, Rhode Islanders were thrilled to learnthat the DRIVE EV rebate had been re-instated. This July, we learned that the program is taking a brief pause (as of July 11) before it resumes on August 1, 2023.

Picture of Devan DiLibero Devan DiLibero

Rhode Island Must Increase its Capacity to Make Climate Progress

Rhode Island has committed to combating climate change by adopting one of the strongest climate policies in the nation: An Act on Climate, committing the state to 45% emissions reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. While Rhode Island is at the forefront of aggressive climate policy, it is not alone. California, New York, and Massachusetts all have similar emissions reductions targets and the ultimate goal of net zero by 2050. The difference is that these states have all backed up their commitment by making budgetary allocations for decarbonization. Rhode Island has just recently taken a modest step towards funding its decarbonization efforts.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker

Victory in New Building Decarbonization at the Eleventh Hour!

Late into the last night (early morning on June 16, actually) of session, the RI General Assembly passed S855 Sub A requiring the RI building code commission to adopt the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) within 3 months of its publication, which is expected this Fall. Rhode Island is now set to become the first state to adopt the 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This legislation was one of Green Energy Consumers’ top priorities this legislative session, especially since the state currently uses only the 2018 IECC with weakening amendments. Adopting this code will mean that new buildings in Rhode Island will be more energy efficient and have much lower emissions than ever before.

Picture of Amanda Barker Amanda Barker