Rhode Island’s energy costs are among the highest nationally because the state is a net energy importer and not a significant producer of fossil fuels or hydropower. Rhode Island’s publicly owned building stock also tends to be old and energy inefficient. Addressing this situation also provides an opportunity to respond to the fact that the state has recovered slowly from the recession, with particularly high unemployment in the building and construction trades.
While utilities and other private sector actors often offer financing for partial energy retrofits, these programs often require short payback periods which make only small improvements (new lightbulbs, etc) economically viable. For bigger projects, like envelope-level upgrades to large buildings, municipalities usually have to rely on traditional bonding, which can be expensive and cumbersome, particularly for financially distressed communities with low credit ratings.Read more
States across the Western region vary in their access to and use of renewable energy sources. Many states continue to rely heavily on fossil power-plants, with high pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Other states, such as California, have excess renewable energy sources during parts of the day, but lack access to ready markets for their green energy. There are also challenges to integrating some renewable resources, such as wind and solar, since they are subject to weather patterns that may not match demand.Read more
The City of Boise needed to redevelop part of the downtown area to spur economic growth, while also ensuring that they continue to meet their high sustainability standards.Read more
In Massachusetts, it’s currently easier to build a large fossil-fuel energy facility than to get a permit to produce wind energy. Other New England states have more predictable siting laws, making them more attractive to developers.Read more