With too many Rhode Islanders still struggling to find work, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced a plan to help our state attract the jobs of tomorrow while also bolstering traditional industries. Whitehouse's "Green Jobs for RI" plan would help support Rhode Island jobs in the emerging clean energy economy, while making critical investments in infrastructure and environmental preservation to support growth and preserve jobs in tourism and fishing.
"The strength of our Ocean State's economy depends on the health of our environment," said Whitehouse. "This plan represents a pledge to keep supporting our state's historic industries and their workers -- and the natural resources they depend on -- while also making smart investments to bring new jobs in clean energy, research, and innovation to Rhode Island."
Despite leading the world in the development of solar and wind technologies, the United States now has only one of the top ten solar and one of the top ten wind energy companies in the world. Whitehouse's plan calls for a renewed commitment to winning the global race for clean energy jobs, by further extending direct cash grants to renewable energy developers in Rhode Island and around the country. Last year, Whitehouse succeeded in extending section 1603 of the Recovery Act, which allows renewable energy projects to receive a direct cash grant instead of a tax credit and has helped jumpstart the clean energy economy. With the program now set to expire at the end of this year, Whitehouse will call for a further extension. Whitehouse will also re-introduce legislation this year to create jobs through the construction of energy efficient homes and the expanded use of residential solar power.
The full plan is available at http://whitehouse.senate.gov/greenjobs
Whitehouse discussed the proposals today during a tour of Aspen Aerogels in East Providence, which is developing a revolutionary insulation material which can reduce building energy loss and help businesses and homeowners save on their heating bills. The company currently employs 81 people in East Providence and plans to expand their staff later this year.
"We are pleased to have Senator Whitehouse visit with us at our manufacturing facility in East Providence," said CEO Don Young. "Our mission at Aspen Aerogels is to build a strong and important company that serves the energy efficiency needs of our global industrial and building customers. The recognition provided by Senator Whitehouse is greatly appreciated by the company."
Photo caption: Senator Whitehouse discusses his "Green Jobs for RI" plan with Aspen Aerogels CEO Don Young.