For the last couple years, talk of Tiverton embracing renewable energy in earnest has waxed and waned; on again, off again, following the ebb and flow of public interest. As Portsmouth trucks ahead, we seem to be stuck in neutral. Even when the pros of pursuing a renewable energy project gain momentum, they seem to be quickly stopped in their tracks by the ever-present cons on cost and applicability.
Well, right now, there are two bills being debated at the Rhode Island State House that could change all of this making it easier for towns to leverage all that sunshine and wind.
In last Sunday’s Projo, an Op-Ed piece by Matt Auten of Environment Rhode Island, and Jim Seveney, Vice President of Portsmouth’s Town Council, nicely explained the legislation, as well as why it is imperative that they pass. One would change the laws surrounding 'net metering' – the ability to take energy produced in one location and apply it to another – and the other would move forward in creating a new municipal energy fund to help cities and towns offset the implementation costs. Passage of these bills would certainly sweeten the pot and remove some major obstacles for more municipalities – including Tiverton and Little Compton – to move from discussion to action.
Take a read through, then take a moment to reach out to our state legislators to voice your support for these bills:
• State Senator June N. Gibbs (info, email)
• State Representative John J. Loughlin II (info, email)
The renewable energy train is moving ahead and we’re at risk of not being a stop along the way. Consider some recent coverage about Coventry, Jamestown, and Portsmouth (again). The environmental and economic benefits of these projects cannot be disputed. We must move forward.
To that end, I'd like to introduce a new feature at Sustainable Sakonnet – the monthly poll. We're a couple days early for an April start, but what the heck. This month’s poll aims to gauge the community's support of renewable energy projects from the funding point of view. Please take a moment to share your views. We'll take the results to our elected officials to help further the discussion. Thanks.