For Immediate Release - February 02, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration to Increase Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy

Initiative Aims to Expand Energy Choices for Low- and Moderate-Income Residents

LOWELL The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the launch of a new initiative and $15 million in funding to help low- and moderate-income Massachusetts residents access cost-saving, clean and efficient energy technologies. The Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Initiative will focus on coordinating the agencies that serve the energy and housing needs of the Commonwealth’s low- and moderate-income residents and identify the most effective strategies to direct funding. The initiative will include an inter-secretariat working group and a $15 million commitment for clean energy programs to expand opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents.

“Everyone in Massachusetts should have affordable access to the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The working group will ensure that we have streamlined strategies for broadening the availability of clean energy through existing and new programs.”

“This initiative will increase the collaboration of state and local agencies and connect a variety of cost-saving resources with those who need them most,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Helping all Massachusetts families afford clean and efficient energy technologies will allow them to save money, heat more effectively and improve their environment.”

The inter-secretariat working group will review the barriers to clean energy investment for the state’s low- and moderate-income residents and suggest improvements in policies and programs to increase their impact. Clean energy programs through the initiative will be funded by a $10 million commitment from the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and $5 million from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). These programs will help address challenges related to high-cost, high-emissions heating fuels, complex financing, and expensive up-front costs of clean energy projects.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to delivering proven and new cost-effective ways for low- and moderate-income Massachusetts residents to use less energy and enjoy the benefits of healthier, more comfortable homes,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Through this new initiative and funding, we also hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support our vibrant clean energy industry.”

“I am thrilled to work with our partners Energy and Environment to increase affordable energy for the Commonwealth’s families,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay. “Access to reliable, affordable energy is vitally important as we work with families to improve quality of life and access to economic opportunity.”

Massachusetts’ energy efficiency programs have delivered building improvements and high efficiency lighting and appliances to low income residents for decades. During the next three years, new initiatives that target moderate-income households, renters and multi-family assisted housing will be implemented through Mass Save®, a utility-led program that provides a wide range of energy efficiency services to help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.  This initiative will build on the foundation of the energy efficiency plans, developed through the work done by the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, the Program Administrators of Mass Save®, the Low Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN), DOER, DHCD and organizations that finance and support low- and moderate-income housing.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is going to make it easier for low and moderate income residents to access affordable energy efficiency and renewable energy options,” said DOER Commissioner Judith Judson. “We can make clean energy more equitable by marshalling a variety of new and existing programs.”

We’re looking forward to putting clean energy technologies in the homes of those they’ll help most,” said MassCEC Interim CEO Steve Pike.

“This is great news,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell), House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “I applaud the Baker Administration on their initiative and look forward to working with them to bring the clean energy economy home to Lowell.  The Boott Cotton Mills served as a center of economic progress for Massachusetts during the Industrial Revolution, the site will once again take the lead as we advance the Commonwealth's clean energy revolution.”

“This initiative will ensure that the benefits of solar energy are available to all citizens of the commonwealth, including residents of affordable housing developments like Boott Mills,” said State Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). “A few years ago, Boott Mills stood as a reminder of Lowell’s innovative past. Now, reinvented as mixed-income housing and powered by solar installations, it’s a symbol of the city’s present-day spirit of innovation.”

“The solar panel initiative at the Boott Mills is one more positive step toward making Lowell a greener community which is something that the Lowell City Council and the City Administration has been interested in for several years,” said Lowell Mayor Ed Kennedy.

“I'd like to thank Governor Baker, Secretary Beaton, Undersecretary Kornegay, Commissioner Judson, and Interim CEO of MassCEC Steve Pike for being here today and working collaboratively on this project,” said State Representative Rady Mom (D-Lowell). “By working together to leverage their individual projects and departmental resources we're going to be able to put into place solar services to continue to revitalize these historic buildings.”

“By implementing the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Initiative, this Initiative will not only help reduce environmental impact, but also keep rising energy costs down,” said State Representative David Nangle (D-Lowell).

The Baker-Polito Administration is addressing the cost of energy for ratepayers in a number of ways, including the filing of hydropower and solar legislation, that strengthen the clean energy economy in Massachusetts and help meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements set forth under the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA).

 

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