2011-09-22 / News

Jamestown reps sponsor energy bill

Four bills passed by the General Assembly this year to encourage the generation and use of renewable energy in Rhode Island were signed into law by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee recently.

The ceremonial signing took place at Sandywoods Farm in Tiverton, an eco-friendly new arts, agricultural and residential development where a wind turbine is currently being constructed to serve much of the new community’s energy needs. Sandywoods will combine affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities with open space, a working farm and community garden, and resources for residents and visiting artists, including galleries, studios and performance space. The net-metering law signed today, along with funding and assistance from state departments and agencies, including the Economic Development Corporation and the Office of Energy Resources, have helped make the Sandywoods project and turbine possible.

Among the bills the governor signed was legislation establishing the Renewable Energy Coordinating Board, sponsored by President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Rep. Deborah Ruggiero. This new body will develop and recommend a strategic renewable energy implementation plan for the state.

“The approval of this bill and the creation of this board will play a large role as we work to bolster our vision for renewable energy development in Rhode Island,” said Paiva Weed. “The board, with the cooperative effort of the agencies it brings together, will lay the plan for renewable energy that will serve our state in the coming years, that will create in Rhode Island a future that balances job growth with energy costs and that helps to support a green, environmentally-conscious economy.”

The bill was one that was endorsed by the Small Business Renewable Energy Task Force, of which Ruggiero served as chairwoman.

“One of the biggest concerns we heard at the Small Business Renewable Energy Task Force is that state doesn’t have unified policies,” Ruggiero said. “Rhode Island is ranked 43rd in renewable energy in the country. This package of cohesive and comprehensive laws will take Rhode Island from laggard to leader in renewable energy. We’ll measure the success by the number of projects developed and the number of jobs created in this state.”

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