On March 31st I attended the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Day event at the Community College of Rhode Island – Newport County. The one-day conference was put on by the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Siting Partnership (RESP), a group established through the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Sea Grant. The major goal of the RESP is to establish a set of guidelines to assist Rhode Island’s towns and cities in siting, operating, and managing land-based renewable energy projects in their communities. Such guidelines currently do not exist on a state-level, which has likely prohibited a lot of communities from attempting renewable energy projects.
The guidelines have entered the comment and review period and are anticipated to be released in October 2012. One major feature of these guidelines will include mapping available on the program’s website where you can search an area of Rhode Island to assess its potential for solar and wind power. For example, a town looking to put a solar array on their closed landfill can use this tool to determine where best to site it and how large of an array to use at their facility.
Once completed, these guidelines will be among the first of their kind throughout the United States and promise to accelerate the renewable energy market in Rhode Island.
For more information, visit RESP’s web site at: http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/resp
A new website, including the solar and wind mapping tool, is scheduled to go online in early July 2012. Continue to follow this blog for updates on the RESP project.