Farms in Foster, Little Compton, and Smithfield will use $54,000 in funding for renewable energy investments to "green" their operations and save money
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Resource Conservation & Development Area Council, today announced $54,634 in grants to help farmers "green" their operations and save energy and money. The awards, funded through the Rhode Island Farm Energy Program (RIFEP), will support solar and energy efficiency projects at three local farms across the state.
"By reducing energy costs, these grants will help Rhode Island farming families keep farming and grow their businesses," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "Our commitment to investing in clean energy will help create jobs and protect the beauty of our state for generations. This is a win for Rhode Island farmers and for all Rhode Islanders."
Funded projects include:
Legend's Creek Farm, Foster -- $19,634 Upgrades of windows and insulation to the farm business operations building that will improve efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs.
Skinny Dip Farm, Little Compton -- $15,000 Installation of a 10.915 kW roof mount solar array that will power 100 percent of the vegetable farm's current energy needs.
Richard Levesque, Smithfield – $20,000 Installation of a 25.2 kW solar photovoltaic system that will provide substantial savings for the farm's dairy operation.
"Rhode Island farms are doing their part to make Rhode Island cleaner and greener," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Congratulations to our grant recipients and to all partners involved in our efforts to bring clean, reliable, and affordable renewable energy to Rhode Island farms. Rhode Island is charting a bold course in clean energy, and we're excited to announce these grant awards."
"When farmers invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy for their farms, they lower their electric bills which can provide them with more capital they can use to grow their businesses," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "These projects help sustain our farms and our Rhode Island food economy."
DEM continues to work across many fronts to strengthen Rhode Island's green economy and assist local farmers in growing their businesses. Rhode Island is one of few states nationally where the number of farms is on the rise. There are more than 1,200 sprinkled across the state, a 44 percent increase since 2002. The state's green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. Last winter, $120,000 was awarded under the RIFEP's third grant round; the awards supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at Bedrock Tree Farm, Carpenter's Farm, and Stoney Acres Farm in Wakefield; Cottrell Homestead in West Kingston; and Pat's Pastured in East Greenwich. Funding for RIFEP is made possible through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
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