Opinion – We Can Do It: Creating Jobs, Fighting Climate Change, Stopping Inflation

As you’ve probably heard, Rhode Islanders are facing huge increases in their energy bills this winter. RI Energy is proposing a 29% increase over last winter’s rates, and our heating bills are also expected to increase by 15%.

The reason? We still depend on fossil fuels for most of our energy. According to the US Energy Information Association, in 2020, 89% of our electricity and 60% of our home heating came from natural gas. Natural gas prices have almost quadrupled in the last two years due to instability and war overseas and fossil fuel companies exploiting the chaos to harm consumers. Fossil fuel prices are a huge component of overall inflation, which drives up everything from food prices to consumer goods.

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Wind and solar energy, on the other hand, are cheaper than ever. Cape Cod’s Revolution wind farm will sell electricity to the grid at about $0.07 per kilowatt-hour. In contrast, in Rhode Island we are paying nearly $0.18 per kilowatt hour for our continued reliance on fossil fuels.

If we are to bring down energy prices and curb inflation, we need to get away from fossil fuels and start producing clean energy right here at home as soon as possible.

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

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Collectively, these efforts will create thousands of high-paying jobs for Rhode Island residents. We will stop giving our money to fossil fuel companies and despots like Putin and start supporting the local economy. We do our part to fight climate change and show the whole world what is possible. And we will stabilize and lower energy prices for all of us.

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Our small state points the way to the future we all deserve. Together we will do our part to fight climate change, create good jobs here at home and stop runaway inflation.

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