Environment

Fred Bever / Maine Public Broadcasting News

A major transformation in the way energy is made, delivered and used is happening right now, and it’s disrupting the traditional business model of electric utility companies. That model includes building big infrastructure projects to transmit electricity.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Wind power is about to go big-time in New England, with the opening of the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., located off the Rhode Island coast. And onshore wind projects already dot the region. But Connecticut hasn’t joined the movement. The state doesn’t have a lot of wind, or available space, and only recently lifted a ban on wind turbine projects.

As part of the New England News Collaborative energy series, The Big Switch, WNPR’s Ryan Caron King goes to the tiny town of Colebrook, Connecticut to find out why wind power hasn’t taken off yet, and whether another natural resource - water reservoirs - might be the solution.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Town of Burrillville is asking the state Energy Facility Siting Board to dismiss Invenergy’s application on grounds that the application is incomplete.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A dozen local and state agencies have filed their advisory opinions for Invenergy's proposed power plant, the Clear River Energy Center.

Well, sort of. A few offices did not offer opinions because they have yet to receive pertinent information and/or permits from Invenergy.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Even with the boom in renewable power, New England still gets about half its energy from natural gas - that’s a huge jump from 15 percent in 2000. The fracking boom in the U.S. meant a big investment in gas-fired power plants. But many environmentalists are pushing back, 

All this week, we’ll bring you more stories from The Big Switch: New England’s Energy Moment. It comes from the New England News Collaborative, a name you may have heard on Rhode Island Public Radio over the past couple of months. You may be wondering what that is. Well, eight public radio stations, including Rhode Island Public Radio, are partnering up to cover some of the most pressing issues across New England. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

With just a couple of weeks of summer left, the season for leaf peeping is fast approaching.

Angela Evancie / Vermont Public Radio File Photo

New England now gets nearly 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources - with more on the way. But that change is posing challenges for the region’s electric grid. The Big Switch: New England's Energy Moment looks at this transformative time for how the region powers itself.

Invenergy is scaling back the potential number of days it would run the proposed Burrillville power plant on oil as a backup.

This revised cap would reduce carbon emissions from the power plant by up to 30,000 tons each year, according to a company statement. Invenergy is amending its application with the state Energy Facility Siting Board.

State legislators received scores based on their voting record on issues like land and water conservation, renewable energy, and transportation. The Environmental Council of Rhode Island, a coalition of local environmental organizations, said there’s room for improvement.

thisisbossi/flickr Creative Commons License

The lawsuit, over the use of a hazardous gasoline additive, names defendants including British Petroleum and Exxon Mobile.

RIPR File Photo

Across the country, a growing number of major corporations, like Google and Amazon, are buying their own renewable energy. They’re not waiting for utilities to make the shift away from fossil fuels. Here in the Ocean State, the Narragansett Bay Commission is also moving in that direction to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Fishermen and industry advocates say there’s a real hunger among people to learn more about how fishermen do what they do. That’s why they’re planning to install interpretive signs around the fishing docks at Point Judith to answer people’s questions. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A Connecticut-based company operating at a Westerly quarry embroiled in controversy since 2010 has been gone for nearly a year. But residents are still restless about the stockpiles of stone dust they left behind and the potential impacts to their health. The family that owns the quarry is now renting it to another company tasked with cleaning it up. Local, state and federal officials got a tour of the progress.

Stephen Depolo / Creative Commons License via Flickr

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is opposing National Grid’s proposal to build a natural gas liquefaction facility at Field’s Point in Providence.

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