Environment

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

2015 had no shortage of stories about the environment and energy, including the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman about what’s in store for the environment in 2016.

The Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board has approved four parties, known as "intervenors," to participate in hearings for the proposal to build a power plant in Burrillville.

Those parties include the state’s Office of Energy Resources, National Grid, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council.

The EFSB is charged with overseeing the siting process for major energy facilities in the state.

Courtesy of Lauren Montieth / Brown University

A team at Brown University is working to uncover the history of green spaces in Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

State officials are asking the court to appoint a receiver in their quest to stop pollution from a metal recycling business on the Providence waterfront. The site has been the subject of a years-long battle involving environmental groups and state regulators. The case recently reached a critical turning point.

The environmental advocacy nonprofit the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has taken a new step this week to block the proposal for a new natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville. CLF is asking the state Energy Facility Siting Board, which is responsible for reviewing the power plant permit application, to send back the application to developer Invenergy because it’s incomplete. Rhode Island Public Radio Environmental Reporter Ambar Espinoza joined All Things Considered News Anchor Dave Fallon in the studio to share details. 

RIPR File Photo

The Narragansett Bay Commission reports savings of $1.1 million a year thanks to a trio of wind turbines at the agency’s Field’s Point facility in Providence. Because of those energy savings, the agency wants to get up to 80 percent of its power from renewable sources.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Block Island has been dubbed one of “the last great places” in the western hemisphere. It has a shoreline largely untouched by development. But on the northwest corner of island, storms have been washing away at the bluffs, unearthing what used to be the island’s landfill.

RIPR File Photo

Global leaders in Paris over the weekend approved a historic international agreement to slow the warming of the planet. Here at home, the Rhode Island federal delegation is praising the climate accord, calling it a victory for the planet and future generations. Local environmental advocates and climate change experts say they are proud of programs New England has initiated to reduce acid rain and carbon emissions from power plants. Now they’re hopeful the Paris Climate Pact will steer the region away from natural gas.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A new house in Matunuck will sustain winds of more than 130 miles per hour. It’s the first home under construction in New England built to disaster certification standards known as FORTIFIED.

After a string of severe storms in recent years, the state hopes to shift to a more rigorous building code so that homes can sustain high winds and water damage.

Photo courtesy of Peter Green

Over the next five years, dozens of volunteers will comb the Ocean State to map bird distribution. The data will be part of the state’s second bird breeding atlas, a joint undertaking by state and federal officials in partnership with the University of Rhode Island.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The Environment Council of Rhode Island is hosting a nature video festival early next year to showcase the state’s natural wonders.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island government agencies are among the state’s top energy consumers, spending about $35 million a year on energy bills.

Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order to reduce that energy consumption. She’s committing state agencies to get 100 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025 and to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent by 2019.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Construction on the offshore wind farm, in the waters near Block Island is finished for the season. The major renewable energy project began this summer.

When construction began on the wind-turbine farm in July, it was heralded by state and federal leaders as the first in the nation.

Over the course of the last five months, hundreds have worked on the project at the site about three miles from Block Island. And despite some safety and equipment issues, work remained on schedule.

Construction is expected to start back up in spring.

RIPR File Photo

Since 2001, wind power in the United States has steadily offset carbon pollution. How much? More than a year’s worth of Canada’s emissions.

In a new report by Environment America, New England advocates of renewable energy are pointing to that as evidence of the growing role wind energy could continue to play in combating the climate crisis.

Aaron Read

Foreign ministers in Paris have a tough week ahead as they tackle the first draft of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But local observers are still encouraged by positive signs in the climate negotiations.

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