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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources provides $150,000 to URI

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources provides $150,000 to URI for offshore wind energy,
rapid energy policy analysis center

KINGSTON, R.I. –September 28, 2007 – The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources will award the University of Rhode Island’s Division of Research and Economic Development with a $150,000 grant for use in energy-related research and analysis.

Andrew Dzykewicz, commissioner of the Office of Energy Resources, will announce the grant tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 29, at 9:30 a.m. during URI’s GreenShare Field Day, an annual outdoor festival that has an energy theme this year. The free event will be held in and around the URI Botanical Gardens and Outreach Center on the corner of Upper College Road and East Alumni Avenue on URI’s Kingston Campus from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 30. PLEASE NOTE THAT AN EARLIER, PLANNED DEDICATION HAS BEEN POSTPONED.

Traditional gardening workshops, sales and demonstrations will share space with renewable energy and energy conservation activities at the 17th annual GreenShare Field Day at the University of Rhode Island on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The URI Research Division will provide $50,000 to the URI Partnership for Energy to establish a rapid-response center to assist the state in analyzing emerging energy issues in a timely fashion. The remaining $100,000 will go to the Graduate School of Oceanography to develop plans for a center for offshore energy technology research and development.

URI faculty members have a wide range of expertise that could be quickly called upon to provide insight and analysis when energy proposals are put forth in the state, particularly when a rapid response is critical.

“Development of innovative energy supply systems in Rhode Island will hinge on our ability to quickly assess the validity of proposals and to identify their economic, social and political costs and benefits,” said Brett Lucht, a URI professor of chemistry and the co-director with Marion Gold of the URI Partnership for Energy. “Our rapid-response center will be able to provide timely, neutral analyses of energy issues, providing immediate guidance to energy policy makers and building the foundation for more in-depth research.”

The funds from the energy office will also help lay the groundwork for a Center of Excellence for Offshore Wind Energy at URI, which will take advantage of the University’s expertise in oceanography, ocean engineering, and marine technologies to research and develop technologies for energy production based on offshore wind, waves, currents and thermal properties.

“This center will position the state of Rhode Island as a national leader in ocean energy by capitalizing on the knowledge base at URI and at nearby marine industries,” said Kate Moran, associate dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography and a URI professor of ocean engineering. “The work of the center will complement manufacturers, offshore services, and marine support facilities that already exist in the state while addressing regional and national energy needs and creating the potential for new business opportunities in the state.”

URI faculty members include global leaders in hurricane and tsunami forecasting, current and wave modeling, marine policy analysis, ocean/atmosphere interaction, and wind measurement. Research is already under way at the University on current-driven turbines, seabed power systems and wave energy technologies.