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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI energy lecture series kicks off Feb. 6

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

URI energy lecture series kicks off Feb. 6
with discussion of Rhode Island’s energy challenges

KINGSTON, R.I. – January 29, 2008 – The University of Rhode Island will kick off its first Energy Lecture Series on Feb. 6 with a presentation by Sam Krasnow, the policy advocate for Environment Northeast, Inc., about the energy-related challenges faced by the state of Rhode Island.

Sponsored by the URI Partnership for Energy, the lectures begin at 4 p.m. in Weaver Auditorium in the Coastal Institute building on the URI Kingston campus. The series is free and open to the public.

“The lecture series is designed to provide practical strategies for addressing energy issues that affect Rhode Island and the southern New England region,” said Kenneth F. Payne, senior policy advisor in URI’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences and co-organizer of the lecture series. “Accomplishing this will require a broad understanding of the challenges and an equally broad commitment to pursuing opportunities for cost effective conservation efficiency and renewable resource development.”

In the context of the enormous strain energy costs place on consumers and on the regional economy, Krasnow will discuss the urgent challenges Rhode Island faces in making the state’s energy system more affordable, sustainable, independent and cleaner while also addressing the need for energy reliability and energy security.

“Rhode Island has the legislative structure in place to create an environmentally sound and affordable energy supply system,” Krasnow said. “But the state has plenty of tough issues to address in order to capitalize on the groundbreaking 2006 energy bill. We’ve been hammered by traditional energy supply costs that have soared by 150 percent over the past seven years. The good news is dramatic advances in energy efficiency, distributed generation, and renewable technologies hold enormous untapped economic and environmental potential.”

Krasnow joined Environment Northeast in 2005, where he focuses on climate change issues, diesel emission reductions and energy policy. He was appointed by the governor and Rhode Island Senate to serve as a member of the newly formed Rhode Island Energy Efficiency and Resource Management Council, a stakeholder group responsible for overseeing implementation of the state’s 2006 energy legislation.

Krasnow holds a law degree and a master of environmental management from Yale University. Environment Northeast addresses large-scale environmental problems that threaten regional ecosystems, human health or the management of regionally significant natural resources in New England and eastern Canada through policy analysis and an advocacy program that promotes environmental sustainability.

“The URI Energy Lecture Series is a wonderful opportunity to raise the awareness of the complex scientific, economic and social challenges inherent in developing a clean, reliable and affordable energy system,” said Marion Gold, co-director of the URI Partnership for Energy and co-organizer of the lecture series. “We’re looking forward to lively discussion and debate among our speakers, students, faculty and the community.”

Other lectures in the energy series are:

- March 5 -- “Opportunities for Energy Conservation in Transportation” by Mark Therrien, assistant general manager of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.

- April 2 – “Energy: A Vital Component of Economic Development” by John Farley, executive director of The Energy Council of Rhode Island.

- April 23 – “Financing Renewable Energy.” Speaker TBA.

- May 7 – “Ethical Dwelling: How We Choose to Live - the Relationship Between Energy and Ethics” by Kenneth F. Payne.

For additional information about the lecture series, contact Marion Gold at 401-874-5705 or visit www.uri.edu/cels/ceoc/.