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Why is it important to site renewable energy projects, like those of solar and wind, in Rhode Island?

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Short Answer
Climate change is a danger to all Rhode Islanders and needs to be confronted with urgency. Developing renewable sources of energy will help mitigate climate change, and diversifying Rhode Island’s natural gas-heavy energy sector could improve energy security and foster greater energy independence.

Long Answer
I. Climate change is a growing threat to the security, economic well-being, and ecological health of Rhode Island, with effects like rising temperatures, elevated sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather [1]. Climate change is a direct cause of human actions, especially the burning of fossil fuels and consequent emission of greenhouse gases. Transitioning away from the current non-renewable infrastructure is necessary to curb this grave threat. The development of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, needs to happen now—the risks of climate change will only continue to grow.

II. Currently, Rhode Island’s energy sector depends highly on natural gas. In 2017, 92% of statewide electricity was generated from natural gas [2]. Diversifying the state’s energy portfolio is critical to maintaining the energy security of the state. Incorporating many renewable sources would diminish Rhode Island’s over-reliance on natural gas.

III. Natural gas is not a naturally abundant fuel in Rhode Island, and Rhode Island’s energy supply is imported from the Appalachian states, the Gulf states, and Canada [3]. The development of renewable energy power plants would provide Rhode Island with energy independence and create more local economic opportunities in the energy sector.



[1] http://climatechange.ri.gov/climate-science/index.php#section1
[2] https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=RI#tabs-4
[3] http://www.energy.ri.gov/electric-gas/naturalgas/learn-about-natural-gas.php

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