Text and video by TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo recently praised an unexpected 40 percent growth in the state’s renewable-energy sector while still endorsing the proposed natural-gas power plant in Burrillville.
Rhode Island’s "green" economy now comprises 14,000 jobs in the renewable-energy, energy-efficacy and alternative-transportation sectors. Jobs in the renewable-energy industry grew a whopping 84 percent in one year. The workforce includes engineers, electricians, technicians and lawyers.
“What we need to do is we need to invest, we need to keep going,” Raimondo said at the April 12 event celebrating the Rhode Island Clean Energy 2016 Industry Report.
Many of the jobs, Raimondo said, are due to a collaboration between traditional industries, such as steelworkers, small businesses and higher education. She stressed the importance of several bills in the General Assembly that would expand many renewable and energy-efficiency programs in the state.
“It’s good for the climate. It’s good for the environment. I look forward to working with the Legislature to get (those bills) done,” she said.
During a press briefing, Raimondo said she was committed to advancing the state's renewable-energy sector. She also maintained that the proposed 1-gigawatt Burrillville power plant is the right thing at the moment.
“The practical reality is, right now natural gas is the interim solution for Rhode Island," Raimondo said.