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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

URI and Rhode Island Energy partnering to propel research on renewable energy, energy alternatives, sustainability

URI cuts a deal with energy utility

Editor's Note: Since 2000, PPL has committed at least 40 violations resulting in fines of over $205 million. Nearly all involved air or water pollution. Here is a break-down of PPL's violations from the Good Jobs First Violation Tracker:

Often programs like the one involving URI are ways that law-breaking corporations "green-wash" their problems by appearing to do good deeds. However, in most cases, the profits from the illegal acts far exceeds the fines companies pay and the "contrition" payments they make.

As a general rule, I think organizations like URI should do a little due diligence to prevent themselves from doing business with criminals.   - Will Collette

University of Rhode Island President Marc Parlange and Greg Cornett, president of Rhode Island Energy, Friday announced a strategic partnership that will propel important research in renewable energy, energy alternatives, and sustainability. The partnership brings together researchers at URI and the PPL Corporation, a Pennsylvania-based energy company composed of Rhode Island Energy, LG&E, Kentucky Utilities, and PPL Electric Utilities, which serves 3.5 million customers in four states.

“This new industry-university collaboration will enable URI and Rhode Island Energy to advance and accelerate important work to help realize sustainability goals,” said Parlange. “The joint projects created by this agreement will address the critical need to develop innovative solutions to support transition to renewable energy in Rhode Island while also contributing to economic development across our state.”

“We are proud to announce this partnership between Rhode Island Energy and URI as it has such an important impact on the economic development of Rhode Island beyond supporting research endeavors,” said Cornett. “I am especially glad to see it provides opportunities for students to participate in these activities and gain a competitive advantage in ocean renewable energy.”

As part of the agreement, Rhode Island Energy has launched the $100,000 Brighter Futures scholarship at URI that will support URI students passionate about clean energy, sustainability, decarbonization, and grid reliability. Research collaborations will also provide opportunities for student participation, enabling graduates to join the fast-growing sector of ocean renewable energy.

For PPL, the partnership with URI is among numerous higher-education collaborations it has developed to further research initiatives to reach its sustainability goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Its research and development priorities include renewable integration, carbon capture and sequestration, geothermal, long duration energy storage, advanced nuclear technologies, distributed energy resources, and next generation smart grids.

Rhode Island Energy and PPL selected URI as a strategic partner to address research in offshore renewable energy, climate change, grid decarbonization, nuclear technology advancement, and carbon capture, among others.

The energy company has also worked with URI on the preparation and submission of several National Science Foundation research grants. URI faculty in ocean engineering and the Graduate School of Oceanography recently received an award of $250,000 – with the University of Kentucky and PPL as partners – to study the possibility of carbon capture in the ocean.

In its mission to support the state’s robust blue economy, the URI College of Engineering has formed numerous research collaborations, including a recent $2.5 million award from Revolution Wind, a partnership between Orsted and Eversource to build a 704-megawatt offshore wind farm serving Rhode Island and Connecticut. The award supports research to monitor lost or abandoned fishing gear and ecosystem diversity during construction and operation of wind farms.