Westerly, Charlestown, and South Kingstown are at the frontlines of climate change. Sea level rise, tidal flooding, and severe weather events are affecting our groundwater and infrastructure. Septic systems are in danger of failing more often. The summer drought caused some households’ wells to go dry. Our coastal ponds are warming, and that is affecting the marine ecosystem. Climate change is here, and we have a limited time window to act.
We need to pave the way to 100% clean energy and build up our renewable energy sector. We have so much potential for both solar and off-shore wind in New England, and it’ll help us avoid the huge price swings we’re seeing with global oil and natural gas prices. It’ll be affordable to households: Revolution Wind- a project off the coast of RI and CT- will be selling energy at 9.84 cents per kilowatt hour, which is almost half the current winter energy rates in Rhode Island (17.85 cents per kilowatt hour).
We should have credits and incentives for rooftop solar and solar on pre-existing community or industrial sites. We also need to pave the way for more offshore wind projects, modernize the energy grid to handle these new sources of energy, and invest in energy storage.
In order to fulfill Rhode Island’s Act on Climate objectives, we also need to decarbonize transportation, homes, and industry:
– In transportation: we must build out an effective and accessible EV charging network across the state and invest in electric-powered public transportation that helps move at least some residents off of their reliance on cars
– In homes: we must provide credits and support for installing electric heat pumps and stoves, funding for energy efficiency improvements, and low-carbon building standards for future developments
– In industry: we must fund research and incentives to decarbonize different industries as much as possible and as quickly as possible.