For Immediate Release - November 21, 2013

Patrick Administration Awards Rural Electrification Grants to Two Local Businesses

$1.35 million to upgrade power lines to support renewable energy generation at rural businesses

BOSTON - Thursday, November 21, 2013 – The Patrick Administration’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) today announced $1,350,000 in funding for rural electrification upgrades at local businesses in Ashfield, Hadley and Rutland.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to supporting clean, renewable energy throughout the entire Commonwealth,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “These grants will ensure that these businesses can participate in, and benefit from, Massachusetts’ clean energy revolution.”

Roberts Brothers Lumber in Ashfield is proposing to install a two megawatt woody biomass combined heat and power generator, which will utilize gasification technology to produce renewable electrical and thermal energy.  The project would reduce energy costs, allow for business expansion and provide clean, renewable power to the business. DOER’s $1 million grant will allow the company to interconnect to the grid, eliminating the use of an existing fossil fuel generator and qualifying the facility for net metering programs.

AGreen Energy proposes to replace a 300 kW anaerobic digester at Jordan Farm in Rutland with a 500 kW digester, providing more renewable energy on site. The smaller digester will then be moved to Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley. The $350,000 rural electrification grant awarded today will assist AGreen Energy in upgrading interconnection equipment at both facilities, as required by the utilities.

“Clean, renewable energy initiatives are the wave of the future and they are critical for farms to conserve resources, including money,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer. “The anaerobic digester at Jordan’s Farm was one of the first of its kind in Massachusetts, and I applaud their ongoing commitment to sustainability and to the success of this innovative program that has allowed them to now expand.”

"I applaud the Patrick Administration for making these important investments," said Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg. "I also applaud these western Mass. businesses for being at the vanguard of our state's clean energy revolution."

"This is an important state investment in renewable energy technology which will help to sustain a vital part of our rural economy in the wood products industry,” said Representative Stephen Kulik.

"Thanks to this funding, we can take advantage of both recyclable and renewable forces in upgrading electrification, the ultimate in dealing with electricity off the grid,” said Representative John Scibak.

The Rural Electrification Grant Program, managed by DOER, is funded with Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) funds. Grants are awarded through a competitive process in an effort to help rural businesses that seek to develop onsite renewable distributed generation projects that require electrical grid upgrades.

ACP funds are paid by electric retail suppliers if they have insufficient Renewable or Alternative Energy Certificates to meet their compliance obligations under the Renewable and Alternative Portfolio Standard programs. DOER establishes the plan for use of these funds to support clean energy development in the Commonwealth.

The Patrick Administration’s aggressive clean energy initiatives have made Massachusetts a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and emissions reductions. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts number one for three years running. This year, Governor Patrick set a new solar goal after reaching the previous goal of 250 megawatts four years early. The Commonwealth now aims to install 1,600 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020. The clean energy revolution is yielding economic benefits as well, with 11.8 percent job growth in the last year and 24 percent growth in the last two years; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the clean tech industry in Massachusetts.

About DOER
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) develops and implements policies and programs aimed at ensuring the adequacy, security, diversity, and cost-effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s energy supply within the context of creating a cleaner energy future. DOER is an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.