For Immediate Release - August 04, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces $8 Million to Help Communities Rebuild from Tornado Damage Using Energy Efficient Methods

Funding and zero-interest loans available for energy efficiency, renewable energy rebuild projects

MONSON - Thursday, August 4, 2011 - The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced more than $8 million to help building owners affected by the June 1 tornadoes rebuild using energy efficiency practices and renewable energy technologies. Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. made the announcement as part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to helping communities rebuild and recover from tornado damage.

"I'm proud of the work these communities have done to lift each other up after the devastating storms," said Secretary Sullivan. "I am pleased to announce this program, which will help residents and businesses rebuild, while supporting the state's growing clean energy economy, and achieving energy cost savings for generations to come."

Developed by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and administered in partnership with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the program - known as ReBuild Western Massachusetts - is designed to assist home and building owners who sustained documented structural damage as a result of the June 1 storms. For building owners, the incentives include energy efficiency financing, energy efficiency improvement grants, and renewable energy grants.

DOER will provide the program's website address and the customer service call in information closer to the launch of these programs. Eligible participants include those who can document damage caused by the June 1 storms, and who own buildings in communities in Hampden and Worcester Counties, including: Agawam, Westfield, West Springfield, Springfield, Wilbraham, Monson, Brimfield, Southbridge and Sturbridge.

Building on existing services and incentives currently offered by gas and electric utilities, ReBuild Western Massachusetts incentives for homeowners include zero-interest loans in collaboration with local banks, and grants for building with energy efficient windows, doors, attic and wall insulation, and heating equipment. The program will also offer incentives for solar PV and solar thermal systems, as well as for other renewable heating and hot water systems. Offerings developed later this year will include energy efficiency and renewable energy assistance for other building owners, including businesses and municipalities affected by tornado damage.

These programs are funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, and funds from Compliance Year 2010 Alternative Compliance Payments made by energy suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) compliance obligations in a given year. The RPS provides financial incentives for eligible renewable energy facilities by requiring utility companies and other electricity suppliers to deliver a minimum percentage of RPS-qualified renewable energy to their customers.

These new programs are in addition to the assistance offered to tornado-impacted residents via DOER's Massachusetts Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which launched on July 28. The program, which offers $150 for new ENERGY STAR® refrigerators and $50 for room air conditioners, sets aside $100,000 for tornado victims and waives the appliance turn-in requirements. 

In addition, residents and businesses impacted by the June 1 tornado are also eligible for increased incentives through existing renovation and rebuilding incentives offered by Mass Save, a range of services and incentives sponsored by Massachusetts gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers. For more information about Mass Save programs specifically for communities affected by the tornado, call 800-628-8413.

"MassCEC is excited to be part of this effort to help affected homeowners and businesses implement energy efficiency and renewable energy into their rebuilding efforts," said MassCEC Executive Director Patrick Cloney.

"There is now a package of incentives for these communities to rebuild cleaner, greener and more efficiently than ever before," said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. "For homeowners and businesses these programs bring significant reductions in energy costs and deep energy efficiency savings. These measures will also cut energy consumption, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on imported energy sources."

Of the approximately $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually on energy, 80 percent - or nearly $18 billion - goes out of the state and the country to purchase coal, oil and natural gas from Canada, the Middle East and South America.