Washington County Energy Program

Building Efficiencies

The Washington County Energy Program reduced municipal energy costs by providing Investment Grade Audits for 80 public buildings across the county. In some towns, like Exeter and Jamestown, the audits yielded work that the towns self-performed or bid independently. In other towns, 46 buildings received energy efficiency upgrades by WCRPC's partner, Johnson Controls, Inc.

The program was intended to reduce town energy costs and create local jobs by maximizing utility efficiency programs, securing stimulus grant funds and utilizing performance contracting. It is an integrated initiative to create jobs, reduce energy costs, and foster independence from fossil and imported energy sources. It includes both efficiency investments in public buildings and development of renewable generation through solar and wind resources.

Participants in audits for the Washington County Energy Program include the towns of:

  • Charlestown
  • Exeter
  • Narragansett
  • New Shoreham
  • North Kingstown
  • Richmond
  • Westerly
  • Jamestown
  • West Greenwich





and the school districts of:

  • Block Island School
  • Chariho Regional
  • Narragansett
  • Exeter West Greenwich Regional
  • Westerly
  • Jamestown

Distributed Generation

The WCRPC has helped the Town of Westerly become the first RI Municipality where a municipally-related project was awarded a Distributed Generation Standard Contract. A new law signed by Governor Chafee allowed the state and NationalGrid to develop a standardized contract for solar and wind projects. Our project was one of the winners in the first auction, and will result in a 1 MW, 5.5 acre, 4,000 panel solar photovoltaic installation on White Rock Road in Westerly.

Streetlights Efficiency Project

During our Energy Efficiency project, WCRPC found that although streetlights are a significant expense, they could not be improved under current rules and regulations. Even though the current technology (high pressure sodium) provides low-quality light, doesn't last as long, and uses significantly more energy than newer LED fixtures, streetlights are controlled by a Rate Tariff proposed by the utility and approved by the RI Public Utilities Commission. The utility owns the streetlights, and towns pay for the cost of streetlights on their own roads and on some state roads within town boundaries.

With no provision for introducing more efficient lighting and no control over management of maintenance of the streetlights, the WCRPC is studying and hopes to implement a radical redesign of the streetlight system in Southern RI. In other states such measures as modified tariffs, municipal ownership, and innovative financing have significantly reduced street lighting costs and improved efficiency.

For more information on our current streetlight project, please select Streetlight Reform Project.