For Immediate Release - February 17, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES OVER $13 MILLION IN FEDERAL STIMULUS ASSISTANCE FOR LOCAL ENERGY PROJECTS

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants will help 111 cities and towns install solar power, boost energy efficiency, and upgrade municipal heating systems

MELROSE - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the award of over $13 million in federal stimulus funds to help 111 communities across Massachusetts invest in clean energy and energy efficiency projects that will reduce long-term energy costs, increase energy independence, and create jobs.

Joined by Congressman Edward Markey at Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School, which will receive a $150,000 grant for installation of solar panels, Governor Patrick announced that 97 cities and towns will receive nearly $12.2 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), while 35 communities - including some of the 97 receiving grants - will share $825,000 in technical consulting services to provide local officials with expertise necessary to undertake a variety of energy projects.

"From the solar panels that will be installed here in Melrose to renewable power and energy efficiency improvements at municipal buildings in other communities, these grants are funding job-creating investments that will result in permanent energy savings and smarter, more comfortable buildings in cities and towns all across Massachusetts," said Governor Patrick.

"Today's announcement for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants will assist Massachusetts cities and towns as they invest in alternative energy projects to improve their energy efficiency and reduce costs," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Over the last year, thanks to the partnership with our federal delegation, the stimulus program has provided additional tools and resources for our cities and towns."

In March, the DOE allocated a total of $42.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to Massachusetts under the EECBG program. The DOE allocated direct grants to 42 communities with populations over 35,000, and directed the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to administer the grant program to benefit smaller communities. Massachusetts is among the first states to award EECBG stimulus funds for cities and towns with populations under 35,000.

"Saving energy means saving money. This investment will help Massachusetts communities join the effort to combat global climate change while creating clean energy jobs and putting people back to work now," said Senator John Kerry.

"These funds will allow Melrose schools to harness the power of the sun to light up the classrooms where our children will get an education. Installing these solar panels will also help reduce future energy costs for the City of Melrose, said Congressman Edward Markey. "I am very pleased that these Recovery Act funds will help solar, energy efficiency and other clean energy projects cross the finish line, ensuring that Massachusetts will remain at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, as we work to grow our economy and shrink our energy bills."

"Helping our cities and towns to maintain and enhance their energy efficiency and conservation initiatives is more than common sense, it is sound fiscal policy," said Congressman John F. Tierney. "From Ipswich to Bedford, we have a dozen communities in our area that will benefit from this federal funding."

"The Commonwealth is pleased to join both federal and local partners to get these important municipal energy projects off the ground," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Ian Bowles. "These investments will create jobs in our growing clean energy economy, while helping cities and towns from Cape Cod to the Berkshires meet the objectives of the Green Communities Act."

DOER's Green Communities Division selected the 97 grant recipients from a pool of 133 applicants, ranking proposals based on projected greenhouse gas reductions, projected job creation potential, ability to leverage private capital and expertise from other partners, and overall readiness. Capped at $150,000 each, grants awarded today will help municipalities pay for shovel-ready projects at municipal buildings and schools, including solar photovoltaic and solar thermal installations; thermal efficiency measures in oil- or propane-heated buildings, such as new high efficiency boilers and furnaces or improved efficiency in existing ones, replacement or improvement of heat delivery systems, and increased insulation or window replacement; and reduction ("buy-down") of the total cost of efficiency measures identified by energy performance contractors.

DOER set aside an additional $825,000 in EECBG funds to provide technical consulting services valued up to $50,000 per community. The 35 communities who qualified for this assistance - all but 14 of which were also awarded grants - will receive assistance from independent third parties with expertise in the negotiation and management of energy projects, enabling municipalities to undertake work they might otherwise forego due to lack of in-house expertise.

In addition to the awards Governor Patrick announced today, which are estimated to save or create at least 200 jobs, DOER previously announced it is using a portion of EECBG funding to make clean energy technical assistance services available to all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns, regardless of population size. Included in these services is a newly launched MassEnergyInsight energy information reporting system that provides comprehensive community-by-community energy usage and cost information, allowing municipalities to benchmark energy consumption and identify priority targets for efficiency investments, and to inventory, track and report municipal emissions reductions.

"Across the Commonwealth, cities and towns are working hard to reduce their energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and taking steps to become official 'Green Communities' - a designation that will make them eligible for up to $10 million in additional clean energy grants funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," said DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice. "The federal stimulus grants Governor Patrick announced today provide an added boost for all of these efforts."

"We need to invest in clean, alternative energy sources today. Grants going toward efficient energy projects are practical and necessary investments. In addition to creating or preserving jobs, energy costs will decrease as a direct result of these projects," said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight.

"These funds will do what the stimulus was designed to do; they will put people to work and provide long term benefits for many communities around the Commonwealth," said Representative David P. Linsky, House Chair, Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight.

"The City of Melrose has been a leader in Massachusetts in pursuing energy efficiency for their public buildings. This grant will help the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School pursue a solar panel program that will both cut energy costs and promote the use of clean energy alternatives," said Senator Thomas M. McGee.

"The City of Melrose has long prided itself on implementing strategic measures to promote environmentally friendly initiatives throughout the community and incorporating renewable energy into its infrastructure and long term goals," said Representative Katherine Clark. "I am proud of our community for taking the necessary steps to not only reduce our city's environmental impact, but also capture important cost-savings. Through the installation of these solar panels, the Middle School will be better positioned to serve as a model for all future school construction projects in the Commonwealth."

"I am honored that Governor Patrick chose Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School for this important announcement. Our school was designed with environmental principles in mind from the very beginning, and it is one of the greenest middle schools in the state. This gathering is a tribute to the people of Melrose, both their community involvement and their commitment to the environment," said Mayor Robert J. Dolan of Melrose.

Investments in municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy are critical components of Governor Patrick's , 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.

Below see a map of municipalities receiving federal stimulus-funded energy efficiency and conservation block grants. Click on the picture to see a higher resolution version.
 

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