EERMC Annual Public Forum


RISING TO THE CHALLENGE: A Turning Point for Rhode Island’s Energy Future – Tuesday, April 19th

As we navigate into a new era of tackling the complex issues surrounding energy and climate change, Rhode Island is poised for action through bold decision-making and coordinated efforts. This virtual public forum brings together expert panelists in a variety of roles to discuss the future of our energy landscape – from state goals to regional collaboration and national leadership.

From her leadership position at the United States Department of Energy, keynote speaker Whitney Muse kicks off the event with a national perspective on America’s energy future, discussing the country’s most pressing challenges and opportunities related to energy efficiency, environmental justice and more.

The first panel focuses on the role of cross-state cooperation in New England’s energy future. New England’s six states face unique challenges, as relatively small geographic jurisdictions that must approach energy issues both individually and together. This panel features energy experts in regional roles for a broad conversation on New England’s most pressing energy challenges. How does Rhode Island energy policy compare to that of other New England states? What regional, collaborative policy work is underway? What roles should energy efficiency, demand response, and grid modernization play in regional energy markets?

The second panel looks at implementing Rhode Island’s ambitious 2021 Act on Climate Law. Just last year, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed the 2021 Act on Climate, described by lawmakers as “one of the most influential environmental bills approved in decades.” The bill, signed into law by Governor McKee last April, will create a statewide plan to reduce climate emissions and address areas such as environmental injustices and public health inequities across the state. This panel brings together the two co-sponsors of the 2021 Act on Climate, as well as energy efficiency and sustainability leaders in the public and private sectors to discuss: Now that the ink is dry on the law, what’s next?


The fourth annual EERMC Public Forum, COVID-19 Crossroads: Achieving Equitable Health Outcomes Through Energy Efficiency, was held virtually on Thursday, September 24, 2020. Driven by the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum focused on the relationships between public health, equity, and energy efficiency and featured health and energy experts from across the U.S. Nearly 100 industry professionals, decision-makers and joined the event. Anthony Hubbard, EERMC Chair, gave welcoming remarks, followed by keynote speaker Reilly Loveland of the New Buildings Institute in Portland, OR who set the stage talking about the investments needed around efficiency, equity and health – and how that progress can be tracked.

The first panel, The Intersectionality of Energy, Socioeconomic Status, Race & Health, featured representatives from RI Office of Energy Resources, United Way of Rhode Island, Tohn Environmental Strategies, and Children’s Mercy Kansas City. The second panel, Opportunities for Improvement: Models and Solutions for the Future, featured industry leaders representing Energy Marketers Association, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, NY State Energy Research and Development Authority, and Habitat for Humanity Rhode Island. Attendees also heard from EERMC member Karen Verrengia, who let attendees know how to engage in the State’s energy efficiency planning process. Watch the recorded forum here…