Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources

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A new pool of money is available for cities and towns looking to reduce their energy use and costs. The state is setting aside more than $500,000 to retrofit existing streetlights to more energy-efficient ones with light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

Marion Gold, commissioner at the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, said streetlights are one of the biggest expenses in a municipality’s energy budget.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other leaders have gathered at Slater Mill in Pawtucket this afternoon for a ceremonial signing of the Affordable Clean Energy Security Act, an energy bill the governor signed into law earlier this summer.

The act gives Rhode Island an opportunity to work with other New England states to address volatile electricity prices. Last winter, the New England region spent $5 billion in energy costs, nearly as much as the region spent for the entire 2012 calendar year.

New Englanders spent $5 billion in electricity last winter, compared to $5.2 billion for all of 2012. That's why each of the New England states has introduced legislation in their respective states to address the problem of rising electricity prices. But environmental advocacy groups are worried this regional collaboration would promote unnecessary natural gas projects.

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Rhode Island and seven other states have released their action plan for their collective pledge to put 3.3 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2025. It's an effort to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the transportation sector.

Energy Commissioner Marion Gold of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources says this commitment is in line with the state's goal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. She says the state's energy plan, and the governor's executive council on climate change underscore the goal's importance.