URI to host free lecture series on energy research, Nov. 2, 9, 16

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KINGSTON, R.I. – October 27, 2016 – The University of Rhode Island’s Extension Outreach Center will host a three-part lecture series focusing on energy beginning Wednesday, Nov. 2 and continuing Nov. 9 and 16.

The second annual “Plugged into URI Energy Research” lectures will highlight cutting-edge energy research and outreach projects under way by URI faculty, staff and alumni and explore how the results of these projects impact Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders.

All of the lectures are free and open to the public and will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in room 170 of the URI Pharmacy Building on the Kingston campus.

“We are excited to present this lecture series as a platform for researchers, policymakers and industry professionals to share information with the public and each other about their innovative efforts around a variety of locally-relevant energy topics,” said Kate Venturini, interim director of URI’s Extension Outreach Center. “It is our hope that folks will leave each lecture enlightened about the great work going on at URI and beyond, and inspired to do something to help forward progress in energy – whether it’s changing out a lightbulb, scheduling an energy audit, installing solar panels, or getting involved in their community.”

The series kicks off Nov. 2 with four presentations focused on ocean energy generation in Rhode Island, sponsored by Deepwater Wind. Speakers will be Chris Kearns, chief of program development in the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, discussing the state’s role in advancing offshore wind; URI Ocean Engineering Professor Malcolm Spaulding speaking about ocean wind energy research used in siting offshore wind farms; Capt. John O’Keeffe, senior marine coordinator for Deepwater Wind, on Deepwater Wind’s operational challenges and triumphs during erection of the Block Island wind farm; and Hollie Smith, URI assistant professor of communication studies, on media coverage of energy technology in New England.

Speakers on Nov. 9 will address the theme of energy efficiency. They include Rachel Sholly and Becca Trietch, chiefs of program development in the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. Sholly will discuss why Rhode Island leads the country in energy efficiency, while Trietch will share information about the state’s efforts to market the energy performance of buildings during real estate transactions. In addition, URI doctoral student Carrie Gill will discuss the importance of benchmarking energy usage and how Rhode Island cities and towns manage their energy use to save taxpayer dollars.

The series concludes Nov. 16 with a discussion of energy generation in the Northeast. Speakers are Ron Gerwatowski, former assistant secretary of energy for the state of Massachusetts, who will share insights about the challenge of creating a low carbon energy system; Andy Boslett, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Rochester, on the local impacts of the oil and gas boom in communities around the country; and URI Engineering Professor Vinka Oyanedel-Craver on “taking the waste out of wastewater” through an innovative, energy-producing process called anaerobic digestion.

For more information about the lecture series, visit web.uri.edu/ceoc or call 401-874-4906.