For Immediate Release - June 06, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Bridgewater, Quincy, Weston

Map of Green Communities Statewide

BRIDGEWATER – Wednesday, June 6, 2012 – Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia today presented $709,475 in grants to the city of Quincy and the towns of Bridgewater and Weston – three of the state's newest Green Communities – to fund clean energy projects in buildings and other municipal facilities.

“These communities are leaders of the clean energy revolution we’ve started here in Massachusetts. We’re proud to support these energy efficiency projects because they cut energy use, create local jobs and protect our environment," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., whose office includes DOER.

In addition to grants for the projects listed below, these three municipalities will each receive a certificate from the Commonwealth and four road signs identifying them as an official Green Communities. The grants presented today will fund:

Bridgewater: $200,800 for energy audits at eight municipal buildings and implementation of approved energy conservation measures identified by these audits.

Quincy: $370,325 for energy efficient LED streetlights.

Weston:  $138,675 for multiple energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings, including an energy efficient boiler at the middle school.

DOER announced its latest round of grants worth $2 million to the state's newest 12 Green Communities in May. In addition to these three communities, awards were made to Ashfield, Barre, Beverly, Chesterfield, Leverett, Maynard, Provincetown, Rowe, and Shirley. They joined 74 other cities and towns named in previous rounds of Green Communities designations, bringing the total number of official Green Communities to 86.  With these latest designations, 42 percent of Massachusetts residents - 2.7 million people - now live in Green Communities across the Commonwealth.

All of the 86 Green Communities committed to reduce their municipal energy consumption by 20 percent.  This commitment collectively equates to the annual energy consumption of more than 13,000 Massachusetts homes and the greenhouse gases from more than 16,800 cars. 

DOER’ Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, a result of the Green Communities Act signed by Governor Patrick in 2008, uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as Annual Compliance Payments made by electricity suppliers under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, to reward communities that earn Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks.

DOER calculates Green Communities grants using a formula that caps awards at $1 million and provides each community with a $125,000 base grant – plus additional amounts based on per capita income and population, and for municipalities that meet Criterion 1 with renewable energy generation.   Grants awarded so far have assisted an array of projects across the state, including the installation of solar panels on town office buildings, weatherization at schools and municipal buildings, installation of high-efficiency street lights, and energy efficiency upgrades.

“Energy efficiency projects funded by Green Communities grants save municipal dollars in the long run, cut our dependence on foreign fossil fuel sources and help the Commonwealth meet its statewide clean energy goals,” said Commissioner Sylvia.

Massachusetts sits at the end of the energy pipeline, lacking indigenous fossil fuel sources and spending $22 billion each year to run power plants, fuel vehicles and businesses, and heat buildings. Of that sum, Massachusetts spends 80 percent on foreign energy sources such as those in other states, Canada and the Middle East. That’s nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency such as those supported by Green Communities grants.

Massachusetts has increased solar installations 30-fold since Governor Deval Patrick took office – increasing from 3.5 megawatts (MW) in 2007 to 110 MW installed today. Solar installations are now in 334 of Massachusetts 351 cities and towns. The amount of wind energy installed has jumped from 3.1 MW in 2007 to more than 59 MW today. Governor Patrick has set statewide goals of 250 MW of solar power by 2017 and 2,000 MW of wind power by 2020.

The Green Communities Act, which created DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant program, was cited by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) as a primary reason for ACEEE’s 2011 ranking of Massachusetts as first in the nation for energy efficiency policies and programs, moving California out of the top spot for the first time since the ranking was first published four years ago. ACEEE’s October report pointed to the effectiveness of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s integrated approach to creating jobs, helping clean energy businesses thrive, improving energy security and lowering energy costs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“As the Public Health Committee chairman and former Senate chairman of the Energy Committee I am delighted at the success of the Green Communities program, it has helped lower our energy consumption while improving the health of our residents by reducing the pollutants that put our health at risk, “said Sen. Susan Fargo. “The Patrick administration has actively worked with communities across the state on conservation and efficiency solutions and the people of Weston have a solid funding boost to keep up the great effort that is under way.”

“It is important that cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth continue their progress towards cleaner energy initiatives,” said Rep. Bruce Ayer. “The City of Quincy is doing its part to implement energy proficient projects.”

“It’s great to see that Bridgewater has been designated a Green Community as well as received this funding,” said Rep. Angelo D’Emilia. “We need to look for efficiencies and technologies to conserve energy and reduce operating costs in every area not only in Bridgewater but across the entire Commonwealth.”

“I am pleased that Weston is a Green Community and has been chosen through DOER’s grant program to receive funding that will go towards implementing energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings,” said Rep. Anne Peisch. “These improvements will reduce the town’s energy consumption, in turn helping to promote a greener Commonwealth.”

Click here for more information on DOER's Green Communities program.

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