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

KINGSTON, R.I. – June 3, 2024 – 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.”

In addition, the PPL Foundation 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.

R.I. Energy and URI leaders gather for the signing of a research agreement between URI and Rhode Island Energy. Standing behind R.I. Energy President Cornett, seated left, and URI President Parlange, are, from left: Bethany Jenkins, URI vice president for research and economic development; Brian Schuster, head of external affairs at R.I. Energy; Anthony Marchese, dean of the URI College of Engineering; Aron Patrick, director of research and development at PPL; David Arthur, vice president of public affairs and sustainability at PPL; Casey Egan, URI mechanical engineering student and PPL researcher for research and development; and Vinka Oyanedel-Craver, URI professor and associate dean of research. (URI Photo)

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.

About the University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island is a diverse and dynamic community whose members are connected by a common quest for knowledge. As a global education leader and the state of Rhode Island’s flagship public research institution, URI offers distinctive opportunities designed to meet the global challenges of today’s world and the rapidly evolving needs of tomorrow. Founded in 1892, URI now enrolls more than 18,000 students and offers more than 200 degree programs across nine schools and colleges. As a land- and sea-grant institution, URI is a key driver of economic development in Rhode Island and contributes significantly to the health and vitality of the state, the New England region, and the nation.

About Rhode Island Energy

Rhode Island Energy provides essential energy services to over 770,000 customers across Rhode Island through the delivery of electricity or natural gas. Its team of 1,300 employees is dedicated to helping Rhode Island customers and communities thrive, while supporting the transition to a cleaner energy future. Rhode Island Energy is part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies addressing energy challenges head-on by building smarter, more resilient and more dynamic power grids and advancing sustainable energy solutions. For more information visit www.RIEnergy.com.

For more information, contact Michaela Erin Crimmins at MECrimmins@rienergy.com