Patrick Administration Announces Federal Approval of Nearly $22 Million for Renewable Power and Energy Efficiency Projects
Stimulus funds will finance solar energy at state-owned facilities, jumpstart energy efficiency retrofits in state buildings, and fund innovative solutions to improve building energy performance statewide
"I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy has approved our State Energy Plan, and disbursed this first round of funding," Governor Patrick said. "We plan to begin investing these federal dollars immediately in projects that will boost the Massachusetts green economy while reducing our carbon footprint and providing long-term energy savings for public facilities and agencies across the Commonwealth."
Federal approval of the Commonwealth's plan for investing SEP funds, submitted to US DOE by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in May, is an important benchmark for the state's Recovery efforts. Nationwide, SEP totals $3.1 billion to fund programs that address state energy priorities. The Massachusetts SEP plan calls for investing in public solar power and energy efficiency projects that will create thousands of new jobs while reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. After demonstrating successful implementation of its SEP plan with this initial infusion of funds, the Commonwealth is expected to receive the rest of its $54.9 million in SEP monies - approximately $27.5 million more - later this year.
"The Commonwealth is ready to use these funds to put Massachusetts companies and residents to work on projects that are vital to Governor Patrick's plan for a clean energy future," Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. "In so doing, we will help state agencies make smarter energy decisions and put Massachusetts on track to quickly triple the level of solar power currently installed in the state."
"These federal funds will finance numerous worthwhile projects to create green-collar jobs in the Commonwealth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use energy more efficiently," said U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. "I commend Governor Patrick for his leadership in the all-important effort to achieve a sustainable energy future."
"This investment will allow cities and towns across Massachusetts to implement clean energy projects that will create jobs and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions," said U.S. Senator John Kerry. "I'm grateful to Governor Patrick for his work in securing the funding to move forward with this plan."
"In crafting the stimulus plan, the Massachusetts delegation made clean energy funding a top priority," said U.S. Representative Bill Delahunt. "This funding will not only create jobs and opportunity in the emerging the clean energy industry but helps the taxpayers by reducing energy costs to state and local governments."
"These funds are the ultimate triple play for the Bay State-they will create jobs, save energy and save the Commonwealth money," said U.S. Representative Ed Markey.
"Promoting energy efficiency and renewable power is one of the simplest and most effective means of reducing energy costs," said U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas. "The funds being released this afternoon will help to install these cost saving technologies in our public buildings, and in the process create jobs in our communities."
The Massachusetts SEP Plan comprises three components:
- $20 million for a Massachusetts Solar Stimulus program to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at publicly-owned facilities such as Logan International Airport, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority facilities, state colleges and universities, state housing authorities, and public facilities such as the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center;
- $20 million for a Massachusetts Building Energy Transformation effort to fund proposals that demonstrate innovative ways to significantly improve energy performance in public and private buildings across the state; and
- $14.9 million directed to an Energy Efficiency for State Facilities program that will accelerate initiation of a five-year pipeline of more than $200 million of energy efficiency projects at state facilities and begin them within 18 months.
Through the Energy Efficiency for State Facilities program, the state will invest in the technical and oversight capacity required to begin a $200 million pipeline of efficiency projects. In addition, the state will implement a comprehensive energy management strategy for state facilities, including advanced power meters. Providing building managers with detailed real-time measurement of energy use will enable them to discover where and how energy is wasted - informing energy decisions that lead to cost and fuel savings.
"The Commonwealth expects to leverage these federal dollars up to six-fold with private funding, allowing us to advance up to $330 million in energy projects with the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs in Massachusetts while cutting energy use and costs for state facilities," DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice said.
The Massachusetts Building Energy Transformation effort will focus on improving the energy performance of buildings as a way to build in long-term reductions in energy use. The state will award funding competitively for projects that move the Commonwealth toward development of zero net energy buildings, in keeping with the recommendations of the Governor's Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force.
Announced previously with the release of an initial round of Requests for Proposals to develop 5.35 megawatts (MW) of solar power at several state-owned facilities, the Massachusetts Solar Stimulus program is envisioned to develop at least 16 MW of new solar power through SEP funding - moving Massachusetts nearer to the Governor's goal of 250 MW of solar power by 2017. The Commonwealth had approximately 4 MW of installed solar power when Governor Patrick took office, compared with over 11 MW today - plus another 6.5 MW in the pipeline but not yet installed through the Commonwealth Solar rebate program. In addition to the 16 MW included in the SEP plan, the administration plans to fund roughly 5 MW more with State Revolving Fund revenue for green infrastructure projects at drinking and wastewater treatment facilities, also financed through the ARRA.
Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are critical components of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:
- Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
- Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future, and support clean energy, broadband, and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
- Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.