Renewable Energy

Educating Rhode Islanders about Sustainable Energy

Since January 2014 I have been an Energy Fellow at the University of Rhode Island Outreach Center. This year I worked on the Sustainable Energy Outreach and Education Team, developing ways to teach the community outside of URI about energy topics such as efficiency, conservation, and renewables. We worked to serve as a teacher to the public and provide resources about energy to those who are not able to attend the university. We did this through a series of workshops available to Rhode Island residents where they could learn the “who, what, why, and how” of sustainable energy. These included a Home Energy School, a Renewable Energy School, and two residential efficiency workshops in South Kingstown and Warwick as part of the EPA Climate Showcase Communities grant.

We designed these educational programs by working backwards and first identifying outreach objectives. First, we wanted to provide people with research-based, factual knowledge about energy basics and what is happening on the federal, state, and individual levels. Most importantly, we hoped to facilitate a behavior change in Rhode Islanders to adopt sustainable energy habits, advocate for progressive energy policy, and be confident, informed energy decision makers. If successful, in the long run we will see a reduction in CO2 emissions and a diverse array of energy sources.

This fellowship has allowed me to grow professionally as well as personally. I have gained vast knowledge about the energy system and Rhode Island’s leadership in a sustainable energy future. I have also gained invaluable professional skills and a newfound confidence that has translated into my everyday life. Working in outreach and education has also inspired me to add a minor field of study to my major in Environmental Economics. In the spring I will begin my Public Relations minor in order to achieve the most effective means of communicating energy to the public.

I feel very strongly that the energy industry is where I would like to further my career. I enjoyed this internship so much that I reapplied to be a 2015 fellow, and was accepted as the Team Leader of Energy Education. This promotion will provide me with leadership skills, and more importantly allow my voice to be better heard in educating Rhode Islanders about sustainable energy behaviors.

By: Angela Tuoni

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics

Public Relations Minor

December 22nd, 2014


Educating about Energy

I am an Energy Fellow at the URI Outreach Center. My internship is focused on sustainable energy outreach and education. My team is dedicated to compiling sustainable and renewable energy information and designing education models in which we can convey this information to the public. Our main topics of research are renewable energy generation engineering and operation, sustainable markets, and natural resource economics.

This year, I worked on content design for the Outreach Center’s Spring Home Energy School, a workshop for public residents to learn at-home energy efficiency and conservation. I am also currently working on our summer Renewable Energy School and Fall Home Energy School content and design layout.

Another responsibility of mine is to attend energy events, including conferences such as the Quadrennial Energy Review, a public stakeholder meeting with Senator Jack Reed and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. During this conference Rhode Islanders discussed New England’s energy infrastructure needs and challenges. Attending this conference was a valuable experience because it provided insight into the actual operation of the energy industry, production, supply chain, and consumer demand, as well as innovative topics such as generation and distribution design and cyber security.

This internship has and continues to provide me with a solid foundation of sustainable energy knowledge, project planning and design, communication in the office space, and getting an overall feel for what I would like to do professionally.


by Josh Watkinson ’16

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major

Landscape Architecture Minor

May 9th, 2014

The Energy Fellows Experience

Helping to make Rhode Island more energy efficient

This semester I worked at the URI Outreach Center as an Energy Fellow with the Rhode Island Public Energy Partnership (RIPEP) to improve the overall energy efficiency in the state. RIPEP is a three-year project aimed at compiling an inventory of all state and municipal buildings’ energy and water usages. Through this process we hope to identify which buildings across the state are best suited for energy efficient retro fits.

Throughout the semester, I was in charge of creating Excel spreadsheets for various state and municipal buildings outlining their energy consumption over the past few years. After this data was compiled, it was uploaded into a program called Portfolio Manager, which analyzed and organized all of the energy consumption data by town. Once the data was organized, it was presented to each town so they could decide which buildings they wanted to spend money on in order to increase energy efficiency.

Although this job’s main focus was energy efficiency, this internship was not all about analyzing data. As an Energy Fellow I was also required to attend outside energy events, as well as running information tables at various energy expos. The most interesting energy event I was able to attend was the Quadrennial Energy Review where I got to listen to the Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Jack Reed, and many other energy experts talk about some of the major issues in the alternative energy field.

Another great experience I had as an energy fellow was running an information table at The Home Show in Providence. At this event, I represented the URI Outreach Center and informed people about the various programs offered at the University, as well as answered energy efficiency questions from anyone who visited the table. I feel that these types of events really made the internship more interesting and allowed me to experience new things in the energy field. Although I have only experienced a semester of this year long internship, I have already acquired a bevy of new and extremely useful skills. I am looking forward to the rest of the trainings and experiences that summer and the fall semester will bring.


by Alex Blanchette ’15

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics + Applied Economics Double Major

May 9, 2014