For Immediate Release - March 12, 2009

Commonwealth, UMass Receive $900,000 Federal Grant to Help the Region's Industry Increase Energy Efficiency

Department of Energy Resources will manage US DOE grant for work performed by UMass Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

BOSTON - A $900,000 federal grant awarded to the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (CEERE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will help selected manufacturers in Massachusetts and three other New England states cut their energy use by 25 percent over the next decade, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles announced today.

DOER and CEERE, which applied for the US Department of Energy (DOE) grant last October, recently learned that the Massachusetts program was among 12 applicants nationwide chosen to share approximately $9 million in federal funding for a three-year program called "Save Energy Now: State Industrial Assessment Projects." Managed by the DOER, the program will be carried out by CEERE's Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). The IAC has performed assessments at over 600 manufacturing plants throughout New England and New York, resulting in industry savings of more than $20 million.

"This new federal grant recognizes the Commonwealth's role as a regional clean energy leader, and gives us additional tools to help companies throughout the region save money by using energy more efficiently," Secretary Bowles said. "Improving industrial energy efficiency will pay dividends for the region's economy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our reliance on fossil fuel imports."

Under provisions of the DOE grant, Massachusetts will receive $300,000 per year for three years to operate a regional (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) energy efficiency assessment and training program. Massachusetts officials will partner with utilities and business associations in each state to promote the workshops and develop individual state recognition programs for industries that achieve significant energy savings.

"Energy assessments help companies identify savings opportunities through changes in industrial processes, heating and cooling operations, and other energy-intensive systems," said DOER Commissioner Philip Giudice. "With over 25,000 manufacturing plants in our region and more than 10,000 in Massachusetts alone, opportunities for increasing energy efficiency abound. Because Massachusetts is a large energy user relative to our neighbors, Bay State manufacturers are expected to be prime beneficiaries of this program."

The first year of the project will focus on Massachusetts clients identified by the IAC in conjunction with DOER and EEA's Office of Technical Assistance and Technology. DOER plans to promote the program through its Commonwealth Energy Resource Teams and Assistance for Business web page http://www.mass.gov/energy/doer_cert.

"CEERE has been a national leader in energy efficiency work," said IAC Director and CEERE Assistant Director Beka Kosanovic, recipient of a 2007 DOE Industrial Assessment Center of Excellence Award. "This grant puts the university out front with other research universities in working to change our economy to become more energy-efficient."

Kosanovic said the grant will provide on-the-job training to students who plan to work in energy efficiency.

The Save Energy Now grant will fund a comprehensive program of energy efficiency - from outreach and education to implementation and recognition of industry energy efficiency leaders. DOER and CEERE's IAC note that, historically, industries that participate in such programs have reduced their energy consumption by 8 to 14 percent.

"This is a great example of leveraging available monies to help business and industries in Massachusetts save money, which helps them remain competitive and at the same time reduce their impact on the environment," said Robert A. Rio, senior vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts. "This is really good news, especially in these tough economic times when every penny counts."

Companies interested in taking part in the program may contact Gerry Bingham at DOER at 617-626-7378 or Gerry.bingham@state.ma.us.