Baker-Polito Administration Presents Green Communities Designation Awards to Central Massachusetts Municipalities
Seven Communities Receive $1,315,650 for Clean Energy Projects
Boston – March 30, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded Green Communities designation grants totaling $1,315,650 to Bolton, Fitchburg, Southborough, Winchendon, Charlton, Southbridge and Northbridge. The awards will fund clean energy projects and were presented by Department of Energy Resource (DOER) Commissioner Judith Judson in a ceremonies in Bolton and Charlton.
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 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:
A full list of projects funded by the Green Communities program can be found here.
“I want to congratulate Bolton and Fitchburg on receiving their Green Communities designations,” said State Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster). “These funds create an opportunity for cities and towns to continue development of clean energy infrastructure that will generate smart investments for renewable and efficient energy for generations to come.”
“I applaud Southbridge and Northbridge for their work in obtaining Green Community status,” said State Senator Ryan C. Fattman (R-Webster). “I want to thank the environment and energy officials for their dedication and hard work on the issues of renewable energy and sustainability.”
“With their continued commitment toward making significant investments in energy efficiency projects, Green Communities are true leaders in energy conservation throughout our Commonwealth,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “The Town of Northbridge is certainly deserving of this recognition. As the state continues to look ahead towards sustainable energy options, I applaud Northbridge for taking action to improve our environment.”
“I appreciate the administration’s commitment to assisting communities, like Charlton and Winchendon, who will be using the funds to reduce energy costs and working towards other long term savings for the residents,” said State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer).
“I am excited to announce that Northbridge has been designated a Green Community,” said State Representative David K. Muradian (D-Grafton). “I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and Department of Energy Resources for their constant dedication to moving Massachusetts forward. This reward is an important step towards reducing our emissions, while promoting clean, renewable energy for the future. Northbridge should be proud of this achievement, as this continues them on a path of greener initiatives!”
“I'm pleased Charlton is receiving Green Community designation,” said State Representative Paul K. Frost (R-Auburn). “This will give the town access to grants to improve energy efficiency and for renewable energy projects.”
“The Green Communities program continues to represent an important partnership between municipalities and the state, helping towns to deepen their commitment to energy efficiency in a way that pays dividends,” said State Representative Carolyn C. Dykema (D-Holliston). “These funds will help Southborough build on its already outstanding dedication to a more sustainable future for the town and its residents.”
“I’m thrilled that Bolton and a number of other Central Massachusetts cities and towns will now be designated as Green Communities,” said State Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow). “Our region has long been a leader in pursuing clean energy solutions and this designation illustrates the commitment of residents, businesses, and local officials to protect and improve the environment.”
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.
Led by Commissioner Judith Judson, 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 to create a clean, affordable and resilient energy future. To that end, DOER strives to ensure deployment of all cost-effective energy efficiency, maximize development of clean energy resources, create and implement energy strategies to assure reliable supplies and improve the cost of clean energy relative to fossil-fuel based generation and support Massachusetts' clean energy companies and spur Massachusetts' clean energy employment. DOER is an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).
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