From: Jennifer Levitz, The Providence Journal, R.I.
Published October 25, 2004 12:00 AM

Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Project Promotes Renewable Energy

Oct. 25—The Audubon Society of Rhode Island yesterday announced a campaign to urge thousands of people to use electricity from wind and water sources.

The society wants its 17,000 members and supporters to join a relatively new movement in which Narraganset Electric customers can, for an increase in their monthly bills, select the source of the power they purchase.

Narragansett Electric buys electricity from the national grid. That grid contains a small percentage of energy that is not from oil, coal or gas, but is generated instead from hydroelectic dams and wind sources.

Eugenia Marks, policy and publications director at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, said there is a process that allows Narragansett Electric to buy more of that renewable energy if there is a demand for it from customers.

"We are creating that demand from this campaign," she said.

At its 107th annual meeting yesterday, attended by about 100 people, at the society's Environmental Education Center in Bristol, the Audubon Society announced its "We Have the Power" campaign as one tool to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels and to clean up the air.

Marks said in a phone interview that the point of the campaign is to increase the amount of energy that comes from sources that are "less impacting to the environment."

She said that although there are obvious concerns about the effect on fish and birds from wind and water energy sources, there are greater concerns about the effect of fossil fuels — and about the management of waste at nuclear power plants — on the environment.

The Audubon Society says an increased use of renewable energy has the broader potential to decrease global warming.

The Audubon Society will send its members a form next month to switch households and businesses to renewable energy. Those who participate will see their monthly electric bills increase by a few dollars, according to the society.

© 2004, The Providence Journal, R.I. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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