Updated: Jun 5
The policy subcommittee of the NK Democratic Town Committee, in conjunction with Climate Jobs RI and Climate Action RI held a forum last night at the town library on Green Building. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse kicked off the evening, updating us on the provisions of President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act and how it's already making a difference. It was a lovely and interesting evening after that, but for those who couldn't join us, here are some links to the presentations we saw. Also, grab a handy-dandy resource guide right here.
Second at bat, Karen Bradbury of the RI Office of Energy Resources, talked about several OER programs, her presentation showed how you can get an energy audit of your home or business and using that qualify for federal tax credits for:
Insulation, electrification, and other efficiency measures;
Heat pumps, electric stoves, and other electric appliances;
Solar and battery storage installations;
And electric cars;
And electric bicycles, too.
You can find a long list of OER incentive programs at energy.ri.gov/incentives.
Angela Tuoni was up next, from the RI Infrastructure Bank, her presentation focused on what the bank offers to cities, towns, and school districts in Rhode Island. She began by pointing out that in a world of escalating energy costs, investing in our own generation capacity can be a smart financial move, a useful hedge against inflation. RIIB offers governments and other public entities an Energy Asset Management Program, to help manage and build energy facilities. They can help any local government with putting together an energy plan. They also offer financing, mainly through the Efficient Buildings Fund, which allows municipalities to finance energy improvements against the future utility savings, or the electricity generated, which can be less expensive and awkward than other forms of borrowing. She also showed several examples of projects and their funding from other cities and school districts in Rhode Island.
Mike Roles, of Climate Jobs RI was next, and he showed us more about the Inflation Reduction Act. The programs provided are not the usual grant programs, where you have to apply and get funds. The IRA subsidies are provided as tax credits, and are qualified by the kind of project. If the project qualifies, you can have the subsidy, period. Even governments and non-profits can use these tax credits by cashing them out at the point of sale. CJRI also provided the useful resource guide we mentioned above.
Mario Carreno of the RI Department of Education School Building Authority was next, and after a tiny bit of boasting about how Rhode Island is in the top spot for "Green Ribbon schools" in the Northeast (and we hold the second spot nationwide), he gave us a presentation about how the various available incentives had been used in a variety of different RI School Districts. Especially interesting to many of us was the new Lincoln PE Center, where solar energy facilities that cost around $800,000 were reduced to -$100,000 after the application of the various subsidies. In other words, Lincoln was paid to have solar panels installed.
Finally, North Kingstown Town Manager Ralph Mollis closed the event with a little bit of boasting about North Kingstown's own energy record (the town was a winner of the OER “Lead by Example Clean Energy Awards”.), some remarks about how important helping to build a real EV charging network is, and suggestions of great things to come for our town.
For those who couldn't make it, if the presentations above don't help, there was video recorded of the event. Please go ahead and watch it, then go build green!
The Policy Subcommittee of the NKDTC: John Manock, Diane Hill, Bob Vanderslice, Meg Kerr, Tom Sgouros, Mary Worobec, Photo bomb by Rep. Bob Craven.