PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) have announced $117,876 in grants to help farmers "green" their operations and save energy and money. The awards, funded through the Rhode Island Agricultural Energy Grant Program, will support solar and energy efficiency projects at six local farms across the state.
"Our farmers supply Rhode Islanders with home-grown, nutritious foods and other locally produced products, improving our quality of life," said Governor Daniel McKee. "It is essential for us to support them and help our local farm economy thrive. I'm delighted to announce a new round of grants to help these farms convert their operations to clean energy, so that we can help lower the burden of their energy bills while reducing their carbon emissions."
"This past April, thanks to the leadership of Governor McKee and the General Assembly, Rhode Island adopted mandatory, economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals that chart a path toward net-zero emissions by 2050," said State Energy Commissioner Nicholas Ucci. "The Agricultural Energy Grant Program is helping farms meet their unique operational and energy demands while reducing utility costs and carbon footprints. Through these important investments, our farms are not only making sound decisions for their businesses, but also contributing to Rhode Island's efforts to address climate change."
"We congratulate our grant recipients and all partners in our vital and vibrant agricultural sector for their efforts to bring clean, reliable, and affordable renewable energy to Rhode Island farms," said DEM Acting Director Terry Gray. "Farm Energy Grants are helping farming families grow their businesses and do their part to make our state cleaner and greener."
Summer 2021 funded projects include:
Skydog Farm – North Scituate, Award $17,876
The 8.8 kW roof-mounted solar project will offset over one-third of the energy use for this small-scale commercial greenhouse.
Wild Harmony Farm – Exeter, Award $20,000
The 31.96 kW roof-mounted solar array will help this business - Rhode Island's only certified organic livestock farm - save $238,156 in lifetime energy costs.
Ninigret Pond Oyster Farm – Charlestown, Award $20,000
The 37.38 kW roof-mounted solar array will offset 68 percent of the energy use for this oyster aquaculture operation.
Matunuck Oyster Farm – Wakefield, Award $20,000
The 44.5 kW ground-mounted solar array will offset 100 percent of the energy use for this aquaculture and vegetable-growing restaurant operation.
Burgess Homestead – Foster, Award $20,000
The 12.24 kW ground-mounted solar project will offset 100 percent of the energy used by this historic homestead and apple orchard operation.
Franlart Nurseries – Little Compton, Award $20,000
The 3.06 kW ground-mounted solar array will offset nearly 100 percent of the energy use for this large tree and shrub nursery operation.
One of 2019's program awardees, Verde Vineyards, located in Johnston, was recently the subject of an Office of Energy Resources video for implementing three different clean energy projects: a 10.56 kW ground mounted solar system, a 40 kWh battery back-up system and geothermal heat pumps. As a result of these systems working together, the farm is 100 percent powered by renewable energy. The video may be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/KGgyi1RyWIg.
There are more than 1,000 farms sprinkled throughout Rhode Island, contributing over 2,500 jobs and $235 million to the Rhode Island economy each year.
Funding for the state's Agricultural Energy Grant program is made possible through Rhode Island's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation's first mandatory, market-based cap and trade program to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the power sector.
To read more about how Rhode Island is addressing climate change mitigation and resiliency, please visit: http://climatechange.ri.gov.