East Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) has approved a grant to fund a sizeable portion of predevelopment expenses for the City of East Providence’s proposed 10 to 15 megawatt solar farm at the site of the former Forbes Street landfill.
“I am pleased to announce that the RIEDC will be aiding the City of East Providence in the development of this promising project,” Governor Chafee said. “The green energy industry is a growing and exciting sector of the economy, and Rhode Island has the potential to become a national leader in this field. If we can leverage our existing assets and maintain collaboration between government and the business and environmental communities, green energy will be a source of tremendous job creation and economic growth for our state.”
“Through the state’s Renewable Energy Development Fund, the RIEDC is proud to support the City of East Providence in analyzing the feasibility of a clean energy source that would transform a closed landfill into a productive and environmentally-friendly property,” RIEDC Executive Director Keith Stokes said. “Strategic clean energy initiatives are vital to the expansion of a Green Economy in Rhode Island and support Governor Chafee’s priority to capitalize on our economic strengths to create quality jobs and help grow businesses.”
Governor Chafee made the announcement at the proposed East Providence project site. Funding will come in the form of a $200,310 grant to the City of East Providence from the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Development Fund, which is managed by the RIEDC. Upon successful development of the project, East Providence is required to repay the full grant amount on an agreed upon schedule. The RIEDC Board voted to approve the grant at Monday’s Board meeting, over which Governor Chafee presided.
At full estimated capacity, the Forbes Street solar energy system would be one of the largest solar facilities in New England. The power generated from the project would directly offset the city’s energy expenses while also returning a brownfield property – abandoned since 1980 – to productive use. It would be the first active use of the 229-acre property since the landfill closed in 1979 after a decade as the City’s dump. In January 2010, the East Providence City Council adopted an updated five-year comprehensive plan that called for the re-use of the Forbes Street site specifically for renewable energy purposes.
Governor Chafee has pledged to focus on and strategically invest in Rhode Island’s existing assets – including the potential for green and renewable energy – to promote job creation and economic growth in the state.
-About the Renewable Energy Fund
Created by legislative statute in 1996 and managed by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation since 2008, the REF provides grants, recoverable grants and low interest loans for renewable energy businesses and projects that produce electricity from qualified renewable energy sources and stimulate job growth in Rhode Island’s economy. The REF provides incentives for the following renewable energy activities:
1) business, commercial and institutional projects; 2) affordable housing developments; 3) municipal renewable energy projects; and 4) technical and feasibility studies.