Baker-Polito Administration Presents Green Communities Designation Awards to Berkshire Municipalities
Five Communities Receive $753,570 for Clean Energy Projects
Boston – April 19, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded Green Communities designation grants totaling $753,570 to North Adams, Clarksburg, Erving, Hawley and Plainfield. The awards will fund clean energy projects and were presented by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton at a ceremony at North Adams City Hall.
Earlier this year, 30 Massachusetts cities and towns were designated by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as Green Communities, committing to an ambitious renewable energy agenda to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Over half of the Commonwealth’s municipalities have earned their Green Communities designation and 64 percent of residents live in a Green Community. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded over $65 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“The Green Communities program is an excellent example of how state and local governments can work together to save taxpayer money and promote responsible energy policies,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our newest Green Communities will now have additional resources to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, locking in energy savings for residents and reducing their carbon footprints.”
“Our municipal partners continue to help us lead the way on renewable energy by adopting practices that allow them to reduce energy consumption, while saving money that can be directed to vital municipal functions, like public safety and education,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to continuing to provide cities and towns across the Commonwealth the tools they need to reduce energy costs, usage and emissions.”
The Commonwealth’s 185 Green Communities file size 1MB range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 64 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as Boston and as small as Rowe. Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding, including reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. The 30 newly designated Green Communities have committed to reducing their energy consumption amounting to savings of $6,241,862 of energy costs and 2,234,090 MMBtu in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,718 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 27,641 metric tons, equivalent to taking 5,819 cars off the roads.
“When Massachusetts’ cities and towns invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs everyone wins, from taxpayers savings to a statewide reduction in emissions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton. “With these designations, DOER’s Green Communities program continues to prove an effective tool in building a clean, renewable energy future for the Commonwealth.”
“DOER is proud to work with cities and towns across Massachusetts as they take important steps in embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency at the local level,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judson. “These designations are simply the beginning of an important relationship between the Commonwealth and our municipal partners as we work towards our shared clean energy goals.”
DOER awarded funding for projects in these newly designated Green Communities include:
North Adams $194,580
“I’m thrilled that Clarksburg, Hawley, North Adams and Plainfield are now designated as Green Communities,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield). “Taking this step to improve their collective efforts to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy is good news for the entire Commonwealth.”
“It is great to see Hawley being recognized as an energy leader for Massachusetts by DOER and EOEEA,” said State Representative Paul W. Mark (D-Peru). “Having the Green Community designation will bring important grant funding opportunities to Hawley, as well as more awareness to their efforts to advance efficient, renewable energy in the town.”
Under the Green Communities Act, DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant Program can provide up to $20 million annually to qualified cities and towns. The goal of the Designation Grant Program is support communities’ investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the clean energy goals determined by the designated communities. Initial Designation Grants are based on a $125,000 base for each designated Green Community, plus additional amounts tied to per capita income and population, and for municipalities that provide as-of-right siting for renewable energy generation.
“The Green Communities Program is an outstanding example of the strong partnership that the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature have forged with cities and towns,” said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. “Communities all across the state will use these grant funds for innovative programs to reduce energy usage and invest in renewable energy projects, and the benefits will flow to taxpayers and the environment.”
Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from carbon allowance auctions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.