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Four Rhode Island Communities to Share Nearly $500,000 Climate Showcase Communities Grant from EPA

Release Date: 06/02/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – June 2, 2010) – Four Rhode Island communities, Warwick, North Providence, East Greenwich and South Kingstown, have partnered to receive a $497,492 EPA grant to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in municipal and residential buildings.

The project was one of two projects in New England and 25 nationwide to receive grants as part of a $10 million competitive grant program to assist local and tribal governments in establishing and implementing climate change initiatives. The goal of the Climate Showcase Communities grant program is to create replicable models of sustainable community action that generate cost-effective greenhouse gas reductions. Successful models will also improve the environmental, economic, public health, or social conditions in a community.

"Nationwide, EPA is working with communities on innovative, win-win strategies that reduce greenhouse gases and cut energy bills for families and businesses,” said EPA regional administrator Curt Spalding. “These Rhode Island communities are taking important actions on climate change, and they are showing real leadership. EPA is proud to be working with these cities to take steps to address climate change.”

"The looming threat of global warming poses a distinct danger to the economy and landscape of our Ocean State," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. "I commend our local governments for taking the lead on innovations that will lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and put Rhode Island at the cutting edge of the emerging clean energy economy."

The four municipalities, led by Warwick in partnership with the University of Rhode Island Energy Center, will begin their energy efficiency projects by measuring energy performance in municipal buildings, schools, and water treatment facilities. With support from Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), municipalities will develop energy management plans to implement energy efficiency and conservation measures, and develop energy policies and guidelines. To address behavioral changes that can lead to lower energy use, the four municipalities will conduct training and outreach programs to identify barriers to saving energy. Based on these results, the project will provide a suite of training programs for municipal employees and residents.

Energy prices in Rhode Island are among the highest in the country. On average, Rhode Islanders pay 28 percent more for energy than the nation as a whole. Because almost all of the state’s energy supply comes from imported fuels, the money Rhode Island spends on energy flows out of the state’s economy. By improving energy efficiency, the four participating communities will both save money and strengthen the regional economy.

The project’s environmental benefits include reduced energy and water use, solid waste generation and GHG emissions. The municipalities anticipate a combined savings of 3080 metric tons of CO2 emissions and 1913 MWh of electric use per year. This is equivalent to removing 534 cars from the road each year.

The Climate Showcase Communities Grant Program is administered by EPA, providing technical assistance, tools, and guidance to help state, local, and tribal governments implement policies and programs to mitigate climate change.

More information:

Climate Showcase Communities grants and the grant recipients (www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/local/showcase/)

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