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Abbie Hasenfus joins OER as programming services officer

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Abbie Hasenfus joined OER in February 2022 as programming services officer. We are delighted to have her on our team and asked her to introduce herself to our readers. Please share with us your information about your background. In 2019, I joined URI’s Energy Fellowship program and was placed at OER, where I worked specifically on outreach work for the Farm Energy Program. I graduated from URI in 2020 with a BS in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (ENRE), a Minor in Marine affairs, and a certificate in Energy Economics and Policy. I returned to URI during the pandemic to complete a master’s in Environmental Economics. My research pertained to energy justice through grid modernization, specifically studying how peaker power plants influence the socioeconomic characteristics of their surrounding neighborhoods. Describe what led you to work at OER? I was always passionate about climate change but never knew how to make a career of it. Who knew it would be at the intersection of

RI Army National Guard installs largest rooftop solar PV system on a state facility

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We are proud to recognize one of the winners of the 2022 Lead by Example Clean Energy Awards – The Rhode Island Army National Guard (RIARNG) In 2020, RIARNG installed its first rooftop solar PV system on the Camp Fogarty Armory building. At the time, it was the largest rooftop solar PV system on a state facility at 207 KW. In 2021, the RIARNG began construction on an even larger rooftop solar PV system at 550 KW. This solar system is on the Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS) located at the Camp Fogarty Regional Training Site. The CSMS is an 80,000 square foot maintenance shop that was constructed in 2010. Once up and running, this solar system will be the State's largest rooftop solar PV array on a State agency and doubles the size of their first solar project at the Camp Fogarty Armory. The system is expected to generate nearly 700,000 kWh annually, producing around 80 percent of the facility’s average annual kWh consumption. The total cost of the project was $1,045,000 and

Steve Chybowski joins OER as a Chief of Program Development

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Steve Chybowski joined OER in December 2021 as chief of program development, with a focus on energy efficiency, buildings optimization and decarbonization. We are delighted to have him on our team and asked him to introduce himself to our readers. Tell us about your background. I completed my undergraduate studies at Michigan State University and my graduate studies at Indiana University. After college, I worked with the City of Fishers, Indiana where I led the City’s sustainability efforts and developed the community’s first greenhouse gas emissions inventories. Then, I worked with Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute where I provided education and training to local government staff throughout the state of Indiana on energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities. In 2021, I moved to Rhode Island and joined OER where I now lead its energy efficiency programming. What led you to work at OER?     I chose to work at OER because I want to make the world and my com

Central Falls Calcutt Middle School replaces aging fluorescent lights with new LEDs at zero cost

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At 1.29 square miles, with over 22,500 people, Central Falls is the smallest, most densely populated city in Rhode Island. It is also the only majority Hispanic community in the state. In 2021, the city unveiled its new brand and slogan, “Diversity That Inspires,” recognizing its rich cultural heritage. Built in 1976, the Central Falls Calcutt Middle School, serves over 700 students in grades 5-8. The school was using older fluorescent lights and was overdue for an upgrade to newer LED smart lights. Calcutt Middle School took advantage of a brand-new State program called the School LED Lighting Accelerator, which provides lighting, and other energy upgrades, free of charge to schools. In total, the school replaced 1,032 light fixtures in classrooms, hallways, the cafeteria, library, gym and other areas. Lighting is critically important, not just for energy cost savings, but also for safety and the quality of the learning environment for students and teachers. Better lighting makes it e

Barbara Cesaro to retire after 35 years in government

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On a bittersweet note, Barbara Cesaro, OER’s Interdepartmental Project Manager, will be retiring at the end of July after 35 years of working in Rhode Island government. She has been with OER for the past 11 ½ years. We asked Barbara to reflect on her career, her fondest memories of state service, and what she plans to do in retirement. Please tell us about the programs you worked on at OER. Currently, my work has focused on transportation initiatives, RGGI and the DOE State Energy Program. I started my work at OER managing over $23M of DOE State Energy Program American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. One of those early projects, funded with the ARRA dollars was the installation of 50 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state. I am currently working on Electrify Rhode Island – an electric vehicle charging station incentive program. The program seeks to make more charging stations accessible to RI drivers. As I reflect on my time at OER, it seems I have come full c

Rhode Island College Adds EV Charging Stations with Electrify RI program

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Rhode Island College (RIC) has installed two additional electric vehicle charging stations with support from OER’s Electrify RI incentive program. RIC now has eight charging stations in total, all utilizing previous state government incentive programs. “The EV charging stations are being used every day,” said Jim Murphy, sustainability coordinator for Rhode Island College. “We get requests from students, faculty and staff to install more due to the increase of electric vehicle use. They serve as an example of Rhode Island College’s commitment to lowering its carbon footprint.” Rhode Island College installed its first EV charging station in 2013 with support from OER. The eight ChargePoint stations, installed by DK Power, offer 16 EV charging ports. Combined, they collectively average 152 plug-ins per month and the average plug-in time is 2 hours and 58 minutes. To date, the EV charging stations have avoided 10,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to planting 2

Meet Jackie Olivieri, OER Programming Services Officer

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Jackie Olivieri joined OER as a Programming Services Officer in the summer of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. In her position, she assists with the overall development of renewable energy programs and monitors them for effectiveness and efficiency.  Jackie also maintains the Rhode Island Community Solar Marketplace website and assists with the RI Clean Energy Internship Program, in conjunction with the Renewable Energy Fund. Tell us about your background. In 2017, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Shortly after and prior to OER, I was employed at the Department of Environmental Management in the Office of Customer and Technical Assistance and worked on governmental applications.  What led you to work at OER? I have always been interested in the environment and sustainability. I came across the position at OER online and saw that my interests aligned with the office’s goal of advancing the development of renewable and clean energy resources throughout Rh