For Immediate Release - June 03, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK ADDRESSES INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY COUNCIL; CELEBRATES MASSACHUSETTS’ CLEAN ENERGY LEADERSHIP

Abu Dhabi, UAE – Tuesday, June 3, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia, Mass Clean Energy Center Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton and others to promote Massachusetts’ nation-leading efforts in renewable energy and climate change policy during the second day of the International Renewable Agency (IRENA) Council’s meeting. 

“I am proud of the work we have done to make Massachusetts a leader in the clean energy revolution,” said Governor Patrick. “We understand that now more than ever we cannot leave our future to chance.”

Over 260 government leaders representing more than 100 countries attended today’s IRENA Council’s meeting. IRENA is an intergovernmental organization supporting countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future and serves as the main platform for international cooperation, a center of excellence and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

In his remarks, Governor Patrick highlighted the Commonwealth’s nation-leading policies that are reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and addressing the impacts of climate change, while spurring economic growth across the Commonwealth. The Patrick Administration has supported a variety of strategies, including programs for GHG emission reductions, energy efficiency and renewable energy, which chart a path to a cleaner energy future and provide models for other states to follow. These strategies have yielded economic benefits as well, with 11.8 percent cleantech job growth in the last year; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the industry in Massachusetts.

"Because of the policies and actions of the Patrick Administration over the last seven years in renewable energy, energy efficiency and GHG reductions we are a national leader in clean energy, climate preparedness and job creation,” said DOER Commissioner Sylvia. “The Governor's address to IRENA today is recognition of that leadership and an opportunity for us all to work together to create a cleaner energy future across the globe."

"IRENA's Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review for 2014 puts a global focus on what we have seen at home in Massachusetts – that renewable energy adoption and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive," said CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Alicia Barton. "Massachusetts' clean energy policies have fueled double-digit job growth in each of the last two years and MassCEC applauds IRENA's efforts to drive renewable energy job growth all over the world."

Since 2007, solar capacity in Massachusetts has grown from three megawatts (MW) to over 500 MW, and will more than triple that by 2020. Over that same period, wind capacity in Massachusetts has grown from three MW to more than 103 MW; and Massachusetts is poised to be home to the Nation’s first offshore wind farm. The Patrick Administration has invested in infrastructure, like the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, to make Massachusetts a hub for this emerging industry.

Governor Patrick highlighted that, while Massachusetts leads the nation in several areas of clean energy and energy efficiency, there is still more work to do to protect our environment for this generation and the next. Last month, the Obama administration released a report, co-authored by over 300 independent scientists, which catalogued the evidence of climate change and its impact. The assessment demonstrates that climate change is an issue right now, not just for future generations, and those weather changes have implications for our economy, transportation, energy, water, agriculture, ecosystems and oceans. Yesterday, Governor Patrick announced his support for the Obama Administration’s and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) draft rules that will reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30 percent by 2030 and greatly improve air quality across the nation.

Yesterday, Governor Patrick and members of the Massachusetts-UAE Innovation Partnership Mission 2014 visited the installation of a Massachusetts company’s solar-powered streetlights on a road in Masdar City to promote the Commonwealth’s growing clean energy sector. SolarOne provided 306 solar-powered streetlights for parking lot and roadway lighting following a field test with competitors from all over the world. In May, SolarOne was awarded an $89,000 grant with a $58,000 match under the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s InnovateMass program, for a partnership with the City of Somerville and CIMSON Software to demonstrate the company’s networked, off-the-grid solar-powered lighting for pedestrian and bicycle paths in Somerville.

In January, Governor Patrick directed Energy and Environmental Affairs to pursue strategies that would help Massachusetts adapt and be more resilient against these impacts. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders, the Patrick Administration is working to ensure emergency services can protect residents from inevitable impacts; assess risks and vulnerabilities to minimize impacts through careful planning; and protect and strengthen both our natural habitats and the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. Follow this link to see the sites of all clean energy projects in Massachusetts.

Current members of the IRENA Council:

Cameroon, Cyprus, France, Greece, Grenada, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Romania, Tonga, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Fiji, Germany. New Zealand and Poland act as alternates.

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