House calls for energy security, vulnerability report
STATE HOUSE – The last major ocean storm that pounded the Rhode Island coast made Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro wonder about the safety and availability of energy sources in the state. Where, for instance, could a person find gasoline for a home generator if power outages have blacked out gas stations for miles around?
“Rhode Island has experienced a significant number of weather-related events over the past four years, which have caused disruption to the state’s electrical, gas and distillate fuel infrastructure,” said Representative Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly). “After these storms pass through, and the cleanup begins, there are always concerns raised about price gouging for necessary items. While that is certainly an issue, I am equally concerned about how Rhode Islanders know where to turn for help and answers when their area of the state has been hit severely. Even knowing where the nearest open gas station is located is important at a time like this.”
Because the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources plays an oversight role with the state’s electrical, gas and distillate fuel infrastructures, the House of Representatives has passed a resolution introduced by Representative Azzinaro calling on that office to issue a report describing the state’s energy security and improvement opportunities.
“Recent events such as Hurricane Sandy and Blizzard Nemo have significantly tested the state’s electrical and distillate fuel terminal infrastructures,” said Representative Azzinaro. “These impacts are likely to continue into the future due, in part, to climate change. Before the next such event, I believe the Office of Energy Resources should make a thorough study of and issue a report on the status of our state’s energy security and also offer recommendations on how to make needed improvements.”
The Azzinaro resolution calls on the Office of Energy Resources to address the following matters in a report to be issued by May, 2015:
** Identify, in coordination with the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers and other state agencies, the state’s electrical, gas and distillate fuel vulnerabilities;
** Highlight anything occurring over the next 12 months involving heat waves, tropical storms, hurricanes and significant winter storms;
** Highlight opportunities for funding that the Office of Energy Resources, in coordination with the PUC and Emergency Management Agency, can potentially pursue with the federal government on energy security, including micro-grids;
** Provide policy recommendations on system reliability, grid modernization and opportunities in diversifying and enhancing the state’s fuel diversity through both natural gas and local and regional distributed generation renewable energy resources.
“We all understand that we are at the mercy of Mother Nature,” said Representative Azzinaro. “But a thorough report on where we stand now and how we can make things better for the future will serve all Rhode Islanders well when storms do hit.”
The resolution, 2014-H 8227, will be transmitted to the commission of the Office of Energy Resources. Co-sponsors include Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), Rep. Jan P. Malik (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth).
For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903