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Governor McKee, RI Office of Energy Resources Announce Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bike Rebate Program

RHODE ISLAND, October 21 - EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) today announced that a new program, known as the Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bike Rebate Program, will open to the public on October 24, 2022.

Erika Niedowski was a talented and respected journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist who also served as Director of Communications for then-Lt. Governor Dan McKee. She was a strong advocate for renewable energy, environmental justice, and addressing climate change. She could also often be seen around Rhode Island in her favorite hoody participating in her favorite hobby – riding her bike. Erika passed away in October 2020.

The Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bike Rebate Program is an extension of DRIVEEV. There will be $250,000 available for the e-bike rebate program, of which $150,000 will be reserved for low to moderate income residents (LMI) and $100,000 will be reserved for non-LMI residents. Electric bicycles, commonly referred to as e-bikes, will continue support the adoption of clean transportation by Rhode Island residents.

"Erika was an inspiration to all who knew her. She was brilliant, talented, thoughtful, and her commitment to promoting clean energy solutions will positively impact Rhode Island for generations to come. We are honored to be able to name this new program in her memory," said Governor Dan McKee. "Electric bikes have become a popular way for Rhode Islanders to commute to work, travel across town or enjoy our state's beautiful bike paths. Every bicycle on the road takes us another step toward reducing our carbon emissions and increasing our air quality."

"During the public comment period before the July launch of our DRIVE EV rebate program, we heard loud and clear from Rhode Island residents that they wanted rebates for electric bikes," said Interim State Energy Commissioner Christopher Kearns. "We listened and now we are proud to expand our rebate program to include e-bikes as well. E-bikes provide a clean transportation alternative that is within reach of many people."

"We have seen the popularity of electric bikes and Gov. McKee and Acting Commissioner Kearns understand the need to extend the rebate program. They listened, they understood and they delivered," said East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva.

"This is an amazing honor for Erika. This program will merge two loves in her life, cycling and protecting the environment. Erika's family and I would like to show our appreciation to Governor McKee for naming this program in honor of Erika," said Patrick Laverty, Niedowski's longtime partner.

The adoption of sustainable transportation solutions, such as electric vehicles and electric bikes for commuters and fleets, is crucial to Rhode Island's fight against climate change and achieving the mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals contained in the 2021 Act on Climate. The Act on Climate requires a 45 percent reduction in the state's GHG emissions by 2030, leading to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Currently, the transportation sector accounts for more than one-third of statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

The Erika Niedowski Memorial Electric Bike Rebate Program provides electric bicycle rebates of up to $400 or 30 percent of the final purchase price of the bicycle, whichever is less. The program also offers rebates for LMI residents of up to $1,000 or 75 percent of the final purchase price, whichever is less. Rebates are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

The cost of an electric bicycle ranges between $600 to $2,000 with an average of $1,200. Residents must purchase the e-bikes in Rhode Island to qualify for a rebate.

Applications for the rebate program will be available online at www.drive.ri.gov once the program formally launches on October 24, 2022. To be eligible for the DRIVE E-Bikes rebate, the purchase date must be on or after October 24, 2022. The program does not cover electric motorcycles at this time.

To learn more about this electric bicycle rebate program and its requirements, please visit www.drive.ri.gov.

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