Fracking in Rhode Island
Energy policy • Fracking policy • Public education • School choice • Public pensions • State budget • Ballot measures • Ballot access
|Fracking in Rhode Island|
|Fossil fuels present||None|
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- See also: Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid -- mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals -- into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks to release the oil and natural gas inside.
Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling -- horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing -- have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states that have fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies and the industries that support them. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for states, not only those with fracking but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.
Those opposed to fracking argue that the potential environmental and human health impacts could be large. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the U.S., concerns have been raised over the ability for federal, state and local regulatory agencies to keep up with the recent and rapid growth and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are tradeoffs.
Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of natural gas (used primarily for generating electricity). In 2011, one-third of Rhode Island's energy use was for transportation, and a little less than one-third was for residential purposes (for heating, cooling, lighting and other functions). The remaining third was split between the commercial sector, consuming about 20 percent of the total remaining, and the industrial sector, which made up the smallest amount, with a bit over 10 percent of total consumption. Agriculture accounts for a minuscule fraction of total energy use in Rhode Island; the state is ranked 50th overall for agricultural production.
Half of Rhode Island residents uses natural gas to heat their homes, and one out of three Rhode Island residents uses fuel oil as the primary heat source for their homes. Fewer than one in ten Rhode Islanders uses electricity to heat their homes, probably because of the high price in the state (ninth highest in the nation as of October 2013).
|Consumption of energy for heating homes in Rhode Island|
|Source||Rhode Island 2011||U.S. average 2011|
|Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG)||1.9%||5%|
There are only two main sources of electricity in Rhode Island according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration: natural gas and renewable resources. A small amount of energy comes from petroleum-fired and hydroelectric plants. Rhode Island's net electricity generation comes from natural gas. Natural gas is not mined in Rhode Island, so there are several interstate pipelines that transport the gas to generators within the state. The state also has no natural gas reserves or stocks.
|Where electricity comes from in Rhode Island|
|Type||Amount generated (MWh)||% of state**||% of U.S.**|
|Total net electricity generation||366||100%||0%|
|**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.|
There are 92 unregulated electric utility companies, and three electric utility companies regulated by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC), including National Grid, Pascoag Utility District and the Block Island Power Company. The sole regulated natural gas utility is the National Grid Gas Services. There are 54 unregulated natural gas utilities in the state.
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- Energy policy in Rhode Island
- Fracking in the United States
- Energy use in the United States
- Energy policy in the United States
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Rhode Island Profile"
- Frac Focus, "National Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Registry"
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Rhode Island Profile Analysis," updated December 18, 2013
- These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates: U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Rhode Island Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
- Public Utilities Commission, "Nonregulated Power Producers Registered with the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities," September 11, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
- Public Utilities Commission, "Electric," September 11, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
- Public Utilities Commission, "Gas Marketers Registered with the Rhode island Public Utilities Commission," August 23, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
- "Public Utilities Commission", "Natural Gas," accessed March 3, 2014
State of Rhode Island
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