Patrick Administration Appoints Two Regional Coordinators for Green Communities Program
Officials will help Central and Southeastern Massachusetts cities and towns qualify for grants and achieve municipal energy goals
Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Phil Giudice named Kelly Brown of Leominster as Central Regional Coordinator for DOER's Green Communities Division, and Seth Pickering of Middleborough as Southeast Regional Coordinator. Both began work in their respective regions on October 5. Brown and Pickering complete the Green Communities regional team, joining Joanne Bissetta of Acton and James Barry of Belchertown, who began serving as Northeast and Western Regional Coordinators, respectively, in August.
"I am pleased to welcome Kelly Brown and Seth Pickering to our Green Communities team," Commissioner Giudice said. "Working in their respective regions, Kelly and Seth will provide hands-on, locally-focused guidance and assistance as central and southeastern Massachusetts communities partner with the Patrick Administration in pursuit of a clean energy future."
DOER's four regional coordinators will work with the department's Green Communities Division and other DOER staff to implement grant programs and provide technical assistance on programs such as energy audits, energy performance contracting, and energy information reporting systems. They will also provide guidance on local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects funded through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants announced by the US Department of Energy last spring as part of the federal stimulus package.
Regional coordinators will assist cities and towns in meeting five benchmarks to become "Green Communities" - a designation that enables them to qualify for up to $10 million in Green Communities grants expected to be announced later this year. To qualify for these grants, which are funded with proceeds from the auction of carbon allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, communities must:
- adopt local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows "as-of-right-siting" of renewable energy projects - siting that does not unreasonably regulate these uses;
- adopt an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
- establish a municipal energy use baseline and establish a program designed to reduce baseline use by 20 percent within five years;
- purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable;
- require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs.
Coordinators may also host local forums to educate communities about energy issues and the Green Communities Act and program; compile energy profiles on communities within their regions to help DOER better serve cities and towns across the Commonwealth; develop an exchange of ideas among municipalities within regions; and help local officials pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency goals through resources such as utility-run efficiency programs, the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, grants, and other financing options.
Prior to joining the Green Communities Division, Brown worked with the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust as lead administrator of the Patrick Administration's highly successful Commonwealth Solar rebate program, where she assisted municipalities, businesses and homeowners with the rebate process, and tracked and processed requests for funding solar photovoltaic projects. Brown's background also includes experience as a marketing and operations assistant at Leominster's Ross Mortgage Company, Inc.; an account executive with Action Unlimited in Concord; and as a manager at The Paper Store in Acton. She began her career at Earthwatch, Inc. in Maynard. Brown earned a Bachelor's degree in international business from Eckerd College in Florida.
Pickering comes to DOER with 19 years of experience at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, where he worked as an environmental engineer in the Southeast Regional Office's Air Quality Section. Since 2007, Pickering has worked for ESS Group, Inc. as senior project manager for energy and industrial services, managing and preparing state and federal air quality, industrial wastewater, and regulated waste disposal applications and other environmental regulatory plans. His background also includes experience as plant engineer for BG Dighton Power LLC, and auxiliary operator of Public Service Company of New Hampshire's Seabrook Station. Pickering attended Suffolk University Law School, and earned a Bachelor's degree in marine engineering from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
"I can't wait to begin working with the cities and towns of the Central Region, helping them take advantage of the incentives offered that will allow them to reduce energy costs and carbon footprint by implementing energy efficiency measures, and installing clean energy technologies," said Brown.
"I am proud to have the chance to help the cities and towns of the Southeast Region implement the Green Communities Act with the DOER team," Pickering said. "I am looking forward to helping the municipalities with the Green Communities grant program and by assisting with practical solutions to facility operations that will result in energy savings, reduced costs, and lower carbon emissions, and facilitate waste reduction."
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) seeks to strengthen the Commonwealth's position as a clean energy leader by enhancing energy efficiency in the state's public and private sectors, maximizing development of renewable energy resources, demonstrating the feasibility of new energy strategies, and spurring job growth through support for clean energy technology companies.