Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Over 70 Stimulus-Funded Clean Energy Projects in Western Massachusetts
Marking the two-year anniversary of the federal Recovery Act, Northampton event highlights energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in nearly 50 cities and towns
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. joined state, federal and local officials today at Northampton's Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, which received $150,000 to install energy efficient windows, to celebrate the projects. The western Massachusetts projects (for full list, see Two-Year Recovery Act Anniversary: Western Massachusetts ) are among more than 300 clean energy projects across Massachusetts financed through the Patrick-Murray Administration's investment of nearly $70 million in funding since the enactment of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in February 2009.
"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., marking the two-year anniversary of enactment of ARRA. "Hailing from western Massachusetts, I am particularly gratified by the important work Recovery Act funds have enabled here. From solar panels at colleges and businesses and better heating and insulation systems in town halls, to a pilot project that will demonstrate techniques for delivering unprecedented energy savings in historic buildings and other challenging settings across the state and the nation, western Massachusetts is blazing a path toward a clean energy future."
Recovery Act projects in the region are also leveraging additional public and private clean energy investments of $63 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 Western 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.
"The ARRA funds have been invaluable for state-owned facilities in western 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."
"As green technology fuels job creation, our Commonwealth's innovative economy continues to be the envy of the nation," Congressman Richard Neal. "Today's announcement marks a groundbreaking that will put our residents back to work while ensuring more energy efficient, sustainable facilities. In addition, the fact this funding benefits our overall public health facilities and care for our veterans will improve the quality of life in our region."
"From Stockbridge to Springfield, and in dozens of cities and towns in between, 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.
The ARRA-funded Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School project is part of a comprehensive "Sustainable Northampton" effort that includes a $6.5 million energy services performance project projected to reduce energy use by 20 percent annually after its completion next September, solar power on several city schools, an 800 kilowatt (kW) landfill gas-to-energy facility, use of hybrid vehicles by the Department of Public Works and Fire Department, and in-house tracking of municipal energy use. Northampton was also among the first group of 35 Massachusetts cities and towns designated by the DOER as a "Green Community" last year for meeting five specific clean energy criteria.
"I am highly appreciative of the support provided by the DOER efficiency block grant," Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins said. "Directly, these funds are helping us replace windows that used to blow open in a heavy wind. More importantly, they are supporting our effort to reduce the City's annual energy use by 20 percent, which is a key step in implementing the City's vision of a Sustainable Northampton."
Statewide since 2009, the 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.
"The success of this effort is further proof that Massachusetts is serious about creating a clean energy future," State Senator Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said. "It is also an example of what can be accomplished when we work together in a spirit of cooperation. My congratulations to all the people who have made this day possible."
"I would like to thank Secretary Sullivan and Governor Patrick for their commitment to energy innovation and conservation through funding over 70 green energy projects in Western Massachusetts," said State Representative Peter V. Kocot (D-Northampton). "Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School students will benefit greatly from interacting with and maintaining the state of the art green energy systems at their school."
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.