Last Tuesday the Providence President of Senate, Teresa Paiva Weed, hosted a roundtable discussion with state senators about a legislative action to grow Rhode Island’s green business sector. The green industries in the state have created a lot of jobs despite Rhode Island’s stagnant job growth in the more traditional industries. Jobs are being created in the clean energy sector six times the overall rate of job growth.
Grow Green Jobs in Rhode Island action plan will focus on home energy conservation, agriculture, renewable energy, construction of environmentally sound infrastructure, agriculture and seafood and recycling.
With hopes to expand the workforce and economy, the plan proposes a partnership between the Department of Labor and Training’s Real Jobs RI program and green industries to determine the training needs and skills gap for the existing jobs. The plan also proposes to bring the green initiative to higher learning by implementing new degree programs at the associate’s level in applied sciences in engineering, pest control, solar technology and organic gardening. It will also recommend the extension of the Renewable Energy Standard. The RES has provided annual increases in the amount of electricity generated by renewable resources. It is currently planned to cap in 2019 at 14.5 % but the plan proposes to extend it until 2029.
Economical Solar Energy
The senators also discussed a plan to make solar power more economical for Rhode Island families. Currently solar power installation is very expensive because of inspection, fees, permitting and labor and financing. The plan proposes a streamlined permitting program that will eliminate all unnecessary regulatory barriers and will also establish a statewide property tax for small residential and commercial solar projects.