renewable energy

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Burrillville has become the unlikely epicenter for controversy over natural gas. The town is home to a natural gas-fired power plant, two pipelines, and two compressor stations to push gas through the pipelines.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Humans have been harnessing energy from rivers for thousands of years. Think water wheels from Ancient Greece and modern hydropower plants, like the Hoover Dam. Brown University engineers have a new take on a hydropower device that could harness enough energy to power communities in remote locations or along fast-flowing rivers.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.  

Our guest this week is Rhode Island Energy Commissioner Marion Gold. She discusses a controversial plan to open a natural gas plant in northern Rhode Island, and what the future may hold for renewable energy and energy prices.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind has installed the first of five steel foundations for a wind farm that will sit three miles off the coast of Block Island. The project is expected to produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes. State and federal officials got an up-close look at construction for the first time yesterday. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza was with them, and she reports that Rhode Island has become an example for how to build renewable energy. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Deepwater Wind started to put steel in the water this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. Island residents have mixed feelings about the construction.  

Susan Torrey lives on Block Island all year. She and her husband have been waiting to see visible signs of what is expected to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

“We kept looking around and hadn’t seen anything,” said Torrey. “And he came home [and said], ‘Guess what I saw?’ So we said, ‘Let’s go over to the Southeast Light and take a look.’ So we did!”

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Homeowners interested in switching to solar energy will soon have the option to do so with no upfront costs. The nation’s largest rooftop solar installer is coming to Rhode Island. Starting this week, California-based SolarCity will offer Rhode Islanders loans to buy home solar systems.

SolarCity will offer homeowners in 10 Rhode Island cities and towns loans to buy solar panels for their homes with no money down. Homeowners would pay for the loan in monthly installments, said Lee Keshishian, the company’s vice president for its East Coast operations.

Photo Courtesy of Edouard Dupont-Madinier

An art academy in France, Domaine de Boisbuchet, now has a solar-powered building designed by students from Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt, Germany. The house was part of an international solar competition last year.


Gov. Gina Raimondo and members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation will meet with Deepwater Wind in Quonset Point today to announce local jobs associated with the construction of the Block Island Wind Farm. They'll also provide an outlook for growing this new industry in the state. 

They’ll tour Specialty Diving Services, where local welders are working on some of the components for the wind farm’s foundation. This local company is working as a sub-contractor for a company in Louisiana that is leading the construction of the wind farm’s steel jacket foundations. 

The state's renewable energy fund and the program designed to stimulate the development of renewable energy projects in Rhode Island are producing positive outcomes: more jobs and less pollution. That's according to a recent report by the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.  

RIPR File Photo

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has granted Deepwater Wind its first set of major permit approvals for the Block Island Wind Farm. This marks a significant milestone for the project.

The DEM has deemed the wind farm and underwater transmission cable in compliance with state and federal water quality regulations. So it issued the company Water Quality Certificates. The DEM also issued a Freshwater Wetland permit for certain onshore construction activities. 

Don Boorman

The Environment Council of Rhode Island will host its annual Earth Day at the Statehouse Wednesday.  The event is also called Earth Lobby Day.

The coalition of more than 60 environmental groups wants to bring attention to key environmental bills under consideration, as state lawmakers begin the last leg of the 2014 legislative session. 

Channing Jones, campaign director of Environment Rhode Island, a member of the coalition, said the event is an opportunity for the environmental community to do a group push for priorities they share.


A subcommittee of the Coastal Resources Management Council has unanimously recommended approving a proposed offshore wind farm off the coast of Block Island.  

The subcommittee’s official recommendation will be read at a council meeting within the next 30 days, and then scheduled for a full committee vote. The subcommittee’s recommendation holds a lot of weight, according to Laura Dwyer, information coordinator for the Coastal Resources Management Council.

Courtesy of Team Inside Out

Leave it to a team of the brightest students in Rhode Island to design a solar-powered house made almost entirely out of high-quality fabrics. Students from Brown, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt in Germany are competing as one team, called Team Inside Out, in the 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe, taking place in Versailles, France in July.

Courtesy of Bella Energy

The Quonset Development Corporation has given a Colorado-based renewable energy company, Bella Energy, the green light to build a solar farm.

The solar farm will sit on an acre and a half, out of the five acres Bella Energy will lease.

Ted Kresse, spokesperson for the Quonset Development Corporation, said the land Bella Energy will lease is not fit for industrial development, but works for solar projects.


The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council says it does not object with the wind farm projects off Block Island proposed by developer Deepwater Wind.

Four CRMC staff members shared this position, along with 17 recommended stipulations, in a 53-page staff report earlier this week in advance of a public hearing on the project’s permit application next week.