opinion Newport Rhode Island

As you’ve probably heard by now, Rhode Islanders are looking at huge increases in their energy bills this winter. RI Energy is proposing a 29% increase from last winter’s rates and our home heating bills are set to jump 15% as well.

The reason? We’re still dependent on fossil fuels for most of our energy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, in 2020 89% of our electricity and 60% of our home heating came from natural gas. Natural gas prices have nearly quadrupled over the past two years due to instability and war overseas and fossil fuel companies taking advantage of the chaos to gouge consumers. Fossil fuel prices are a huge component of broader inflation, driving up everything from food prices to consumer goods.

Wind and solar power, on the other hand, is more affordable than ever. The Revolution Wind Farm off Cape Cod will be selling electricity to the grid for about $0.07 per kilowatt hour. By contrast, in Rhode Island we will pay nearly $0.18 per kilowatt hour for our on-going fossil fuel dependence.

If we want to lower energy prices and rein in inflation, we need to get off fossil fuels as soon as possible and start producing clean energy here at home.

That’s why I’m so proud of the work we’ve done to make Rhode Island a leader towards a clean energy future. In 2021, I was the lead sponsor of the Act on Climate, trailblazing legislation that puts us on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050. This year, I was the lead sponsor of legislation to jump start the production of responsibly developed off-shore wind. I was also a co-sponsor of the boldest renewable energy standard in the country: by 2033, 100% of our electricity will come from local renewable sources.

Taken together, these efforts are going to create thousands of good paying jobs for Rhode Islanders. We’re going to stop giving our money to fossil fuel companies and despots like Putin, and start supporting the local economy. We’re doing our part to combat climate change and showing the whole world what’s possible. And we’re going to stabilize and lower energy prices for all of us.

Our little state is leading the way towards the future we all deserve. Together, we will do our part to combat climate change, create good jobs here at home, and stop runaway inflation.

Dawn Euer is a Democratic State Senator representing District 13, Newport and Jamestown. She is Chairwoman of the Senate Environment & Agriculture Committee.

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