Massachusetts and Rhode Island have both announced plans on how they intend to spend funds coming from the national Volkswagen “dieselgate” settlement. We’re seeing some solid ideas on how the states can use the VW settlement money to reduce air pollution from diesel fuel. This development is akin to turning swords into plowshares. While it’s horrible that VW deceived governments throughout the world about emissions from its diesel engines, there will be two lasting benefits from the settlement. Firstly, car-makers appear to be reducing their commitment to new diesels, as VW’s experience highlights the impossibility of making low-emission diesel vehicles. Secondly, the VW settlement money will help greatly to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.
Here’s some news! Our organization has legally changed its name to Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Inc. This single new name better reflects our nonprofit mission: to harness the power of energy consumers to speed the transition to a low-carbon future.
By way of history, Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) and People’s Power & Light were once two separate nonprofit organizations. Mass Energy actually began as the Boston Fuel Consortium in 1982, while People’s Power & Light started in 2002. Pursuing similar missions, we merged in 2006 as Energy Consumers Alliance of New England, but continued to operate with separate brands in each state until this week.
Solar projects have been popping up all over Rhode Island. This has been due to the enhancement of the Renewable Energy Standard and the Renewable Energy Growth program, as well as a recent call from Governor Gina Raimondo to have 1,000 Megawatts of renewable energy within the state by the end of 2020. We are excited about the possibilities these policy measures create for new, properly-sited projects.
In March 2017, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced a statewide initiative to increase the amount of clean energy by 10 times by 2020. That means that Rhode Island is set to achieve a total of 1,000 MW by 2020. Just in time for these important commitments, we're partnering with EnergySage to make it easier for everyone to install solar. Homeowners and business can contribute to the 1,000MW goal with smart investments in clean energy, like rooftop solar.
How do we upgrade our electric grid to accommodate more renewables and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring affordability for all customers? This is a question PP&L and others in the energy community have been tackling through the ongoing electric and gas rate case proceedings at the Public Utilities Commission. In 2017 National Grid submitted a proposal to the Public Utilities Commission to increase gas and electric rates to maintain service reliability and upgrade the system. And now after several months, it appears that a consensus has been reached.
Joel Gates and his daughter, Sarah, volunteering to showcase their Chevy Bolt at Audubon's Raptor Weekend in September 2017.
For Joel Gates, living sustainably is more than just greening his electricity, it is a way of life. A resident of Glocester Rhode Island, Joel has been a part of People’s Power & Light (PP&L) for 13 years. From greening his electricity with ground-mount solar panels and PP&L’s green power programs to driving an all-electric vehicle and advocating for clean energy in Rhode Island, he epitomizes what it means to be a PP&L member. For these reasons, we are honoring Joel for his dedicated support as the 2018 Member Spotlight Awardee at our 16th Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 17th at the Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel. Get your tickets at: RIpower.org/16years
Original artwork from Mass. College of Art and Design student, Erin MacEachern, created for People's Power & Light/Mass Energy
Rhode Island is actively adding more solar, electric vehicles (EVs), and other distributed sources of energy across the state. These clean technologies are essential to reach our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and offer more choices to consumers. These sources also create unique costs and benefits, as well as new demands on our antiquated electric grid.
This past week, the People’s Power & Light (PP&L) community celebrated 15 years at the annual spring meeting in Rhode Island. PP&L members, industry professional, and friends came together to enjoy an evening at the Omni Providence Hotel and to hear about the latest projects and advocacy efforts the PP&L team is leading the charge on.
The Resilient Rhode Island Act mandates that Rhode Island take active steps to mitigate and reduce the impacts of climate change. The Act passed in 2014 with widespread support from the environmental and clean energy communities, including People’s Power & Light.