For Immediate Release - February 19, 2014

Patrick Administration Energy Officials Present Green Communities Awards to Acushnet, Plympton

Towns receive Green Communities designations and more than $295,000 in grant funds

ACUSHNET – Wednesday, February 19, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today presented the towns of Acushnet and Plympton with more than $295,000 in Green Communities grants to fund municipal clean energy projects.

“These municipalities are now two of the 123 Green Communities across the Commonwealth making smart investments in clean energy,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Community by community, we are protecting our environment, reducing municipal costs and making Massachusetts a clean energy leader.”

“It’s exciting to see these communities count themselves among the leaders taking charge of their clean energy future,” said Secretary Sullivan, whose office includes the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). “The Patrick Administration continues to support towns that are cutting energy use, creating jobs and protecting the environment. Their efforts are critical to the Commonwealth’s clean energy revolution.”

The municipalities received a certificate from the Commonwealth and road signs identifying them as Green Communities. DOER’s Green Communities Division officially designated the towns in December, recognizing achievements in meeting five clean energy benchmarks.

The grants each community received are as follows:

Acushnet         $154,225
Plympton         $141,500         

“Massachusetts’ clean energy revolution continues its momentum in large part because of leadership at the local level,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “These communities continue to spread renewable energy and efficiency efforts across our Commonwealth, saving money and energy for their residents and businesses, and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

The grants are part of more than $2 million in funding awarded to the state’s 13 newest Green Communities. Amesbury, Ashby, Blackstone, Concord, Framingham, Longmeadow, Lunenburg, Manchester-by-the-Sea, West Newbury, Westford and Williamsburg have also received awards and designations in this round.
“Acushnet, the first town in Bristol County to achieve Green Community status, has developed a detailed plan to reduce energy use as part of its participation in the Green Communities program.  The grant monies awarded to the Town today will help it reduce its energy use by at least 20 percent and will ensure that Acushnet leads the way in renewable energy projects in the South Coast area,” said Senator Mark Montigny. “I have long supported Green Communities efforts in the Commonwealth and am sure that Acushnet’s projects will serve as a template for future green initiatives in our area.”

“I’m excited to see Plympton join the ranks of those communities in the Commonwealth who have made a serious commitment to a greener, more sustainable future,” said Senator Thomas Kennedy.

"I am pleased the town of Acushnet is taking advantage of this state program,” said Representative Bob Koczera. “Not only will Acushnet save taxpayers money by reducing energy consumption but the town will also contribute to a cleaner environment. The town will be eligible for funding awards for future energy conservation projects. Today's announcement is a win for the people."

"I am thrilled to see Plympton included in Massachusetts' 123 Green Communities and grateful to the town leaders for their efforts to achieve Green Community status, which will result in energy savings and a cleaner environment for the citizens of Plympton," said Representative Tom Calter.

Once designated by DOER as official Green Communities, cities and towns are eligible for awards to fund local renewable power and energy efficiency projects that advance both municipal and state clean energy goals. Grants awarded so far have funded a variety 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.

Including this seventh round of designation grants and two rounds of competitive grants, the Patrick Administration has awarded nearly $30 million in grants to the Commonwealth’s 123 Green Communities. Available to eligible Green Communities that have successfully invested their previous Green Communities grants, applications for DOER’s third round of Green Communities Competitive Grants will be due at the end of March.

To date, the 123 Green Communities have committed to a total energy reduction equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 15,000 homes. In greenhouse gas reduction terms, this commitment equates to taking approximately 34,000 cars off the road.

DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, a result of the Green Communities Act signed by Governor Patrick in 2008, is funded through auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as Alternative Compliance Payments made by electricity suppliers under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

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 cleantech industry in Massachusetts.

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