Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Over 45 Stimulus-Funded Clean Energy Projects in Central Massachusetts
Marking the two-year anniversary of the federal Recovery Act, Fitchburg event highlights energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in over two dozen cities and towns
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. joined state, federal and local officials today at Fitchburg State University to celebrate the projects, which are among more than 300 clean energy initiatives across Massachusetts financed through the Patrick-Murray Administration's investment of nearly $70 million in ARRA funds since the Act took effect in February 2009. Fitchburg State received $223,100 for an 89 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system and $698,037 as part of a statewide initiative to measure real-time energy use and identify efficiency opportunities in state-owned facilities.
"The innovative, expeditious and prudent investment of Recovery Act dollars in diverse projects across this region is further illustration that Massachusetts is a national clean energy leader," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "From wind turbines at Mt. Wachusett Community College and the Department of Corrections facility in Gardner, to solar and efficiency projects in schools and municipal buildings and a first-ever program to deliver comprehensive energy efficiency programs to oil-heat customers, central Massachusetts is fully engaged in the Patrick-Murray Administration's pursuit of a clean energy future."
Recovery Act projects in the region are also leveraging additional public and private clean energy investments of $45.4 million.
"The results of the Recovery Act effort here in Massachusetts are impressive," said Jeffrey A. Simon, Director of the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office. "Nearly every part of state government has been involved. We've invested in education, in broadband access, alternative energy, water and wastewater plants. Housing projects that will be home to over 63,000 have been funded and 95 road and bridge projects are either complete or underway. Most importantly, 70,000 people in Massachusetts have received a Recovery Act-funded paycheck over the last two years. It should come as no surprise that Massachusetts is leading the country out of the recession."
"Real investments like those we've seen develop in the past two years in central Massachusetts will help us harness our $6 trillion energy economy and create the clean energy technology jobs of tomorrow that will put people to work and keep our state on the cutting edge," said US Senator John Kerry.
"Investing in renewable energy was one of the key priorities of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act," Congressman James McGovern said. 'I'm pleased to see these funds going to communities in central Massachusetts. The Commonwealth can and should be a leader in developing and implementing clean energy technologies. Doing so is good for our economy and our environment."
"The ARRA funds have been invaluable for state-owned facilities in Central Massachusetts, particularly for maximizing energy efficiency," said Congressman John Olver. "The funds have allowed us to continue to be forward-thinking regarding our environmental impact, and they have helped save taxpayer dollars previously wasted on inefficient energy technology in public facilities."
"With increasing energy costs, these projects mean a lot to Fitchburg State University and the communities of central Mass," said Fitchburg Mayor Lisa A. Wong. "This is a great example of how local-state partnerships work well. Institutions and communities are now able to upgrade heating systems and install alternative energy systems that will help them with sustainability."
"Fitchburg State University has long been committed to reducing energy consumption on the campus and we are working toward a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012," President Robert V. Antonucci said. "The energy monitoring system made possible by ARRA funding will play a key role in helping us meet our ambitious goals. Likewise, the solar PV arrays being installed on campus buildings will help us further our goals for energy sustainability. We are grateful for the state and federal support that has brought these projects to fruition."
Statewide since 2009, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has invested ARRA funds through a number of programs that support Governor Patrick's goals for a clean energy future. These programs include High Performance Buildings ($16.2 million) to demonstrate innovative solutions for long-standing challenges to substantial improvement of energy performance in various building types; Solar Stimulus ($17 million awarded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and DOER) to create 16 MW of additional solar capacity across the Commonwealth; and Leading by Example ($14.55 million) to enable savings of tens of millions of dollars in annual energy savings across state-owned facilities - including expected savings of up to 15 percent through an Enterprise Energy Management System that helps state facilities managers identify energy-saving operational improvements through real-time energy monitoring. DOER also awarded $14.7 million in ARRA funds to Massachusetts cities and towns through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program, including $12.2 million for clean energy and energy savings projects, energy code training, technical assistance for implementing projects, and development and implementation of a web-based tool for cities and towns to track their energy consumption.
"From Fitchburg to Franklin, and in two dozen surrounding cities and towns, the Patrick-Murray Administration's investment of federal Recovery dollars is revitalizing the regional economy with cutting-edge energy projects that save companies and taxpayers money and improve the environment of western Massachusetts," said Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia.
"I am very pleased with the large amount of stimulus funding coming directly into North Central Massachusetts," said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan. "These funds will go a long way in the aggressive effort made by Massachusetts to become a national leader in renewable energy."
"Everything I've read tells me the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working. Since it was enacted two years ago there is proof that it is aiding the U.S. in attaining its goal of doubling renewable generation capacity," said Rep. Stephen DiNatale. "These clean energy dollars that Fitchburg State University received from the ARRA is great news. FSU is part of the next generation of energy technologies, and, most importantly, a project that is a cost competitive alternative to electricity."
"MassCEC is proud to have been part of this effort to inject Recovery Act funds into solar PV projects in Massachusetts," said Patrick Cloney, executive director of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). "In total, Commonwealth Solar Stimulus has awarded funds to 102 solar projects in Massachusetts, installing 7.8 MW of solar power. We look forward to seeing these systems and more up and running and producing clean, renewable energy for the people of Massachusetts."
Investment in clean energy is a critical component 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.