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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Expand Access to Clean Energy Technology

Affordable Access to Regional Coordination Grant Program Expands Reach of Successful Programs and Improves Access to Clean Energy Technology for Low-Income Residents
For immediate release:
12/20/2019
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Expand Access to Clean Energy Technology

Eric Noreen, Communications Director

BOSTONThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced grants totaling nearly $800,000 to eight Massachusetts Regional Planning Authorities through the Affordable Access to Regional Coordination (AARC) Grant Program for education, training, and outreach to increase and institutionalize knowledge of clean energy technologies and clean energy programs applicable to low-income residents and affordable housing. The AARC Program was announced as part of the Administration’s Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) and continues the Department of Energy Resources’ commitment to expanding access to clean energy technology for the Commonwealth’s low-income residents.

“The AARC Grant Program is critical to ensuring residents across the state have the same level of access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Additional resources at the local level will make it easier for residents and smaller developers to install clean, energy efficient technologies, as well as access available financial incentives, and reduce overall energy costs.”

“Our Administration is committed to helping Massachusetts' low-income households reduce energy costs while promoting sustainable alternatives,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The AARC Grant Program will provide real-world efficiency and financial benefits to residents, and better position the Commonwealth to extend energy efficiency benefits to the homes to families in cities and towns across the state.”

In February 2016, the Baker-Polito Administration launched the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Initiative to help Massachusetts’ low- and moderate-income residents to access cost-saving, renewable energy and energy efficient clean energy technologies. This initiative included a $15 million funding commitment for programs to improve access to clean energy and energy efficient technologies for LMI residents and affordable housing owners and developers. As part of the initiative, the DOER and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) convened a working group representing various interests around LMI residents and housing. The working group met during 2016, concluding with a report issued in April 2016 with recommendations for increasing access to clean energy for LMI residents such as increased technical assistance. Technical assistance enables small portfolio owners and developers, municipalities, and residents to overcome knowledge barriers and increase their access to existing clean and efficient energy incentives.

“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to continuing efforts to build a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future for all residents of the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The AARC Program will enable regional planning authorities, councils of government, municipalities, and other local organizations to serve as a resource to low-income residents and affordable housing owners and developers.”

“The AARC Grant Program builds on the recommendations made by the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Initiative,” said Department of Energy Resources Acting Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “Under the program, low-income residents can access existing incentive programs and resources available for technologies that reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions including solar, clean heating and cooling technologies, insulation, and other energy efficiency measures.”

The following Regional Planning Authorities (RPA) received awards:

AARC Grant Recipient

Amount

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

$        104,287

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

$           95,765

Franklin Regional Council of Governments

$        107,850

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

$        113,483

Montachusett Regional Planning Commission

$        104,039

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission

$           77,036

Northern Middlesex Council of Governments

$           77,036

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

$        119,406

The AARC Program will increase local-level knowledge of clean and efficient energy technologies and incentive programs, thereby helping to remove barriers and improve access to clean and efficient energy technologies for the low-income population. This opportunity is especially important as a resource for smaller affordable housing developers and owners, and municipalities. Additionally, the AARC grants provide funding to RPAs for three general categories of activities:  internal knowledge and capacity building; training and outreach to local organizations and municipalities; and services to help low-income residents and low-income housing owners access clean energy programs and incentives. Examples of such activities include: attending in-person trainings on clean energy technology, programs, and incentives provided by DOER, attending clean energy- focused webinars and trainings hosted by other organizations, participating in quarterly meetings to share best practices and explore clean energy topics in more depth, conducting energy needs assessments of local stakeholders, developing and providing training on clean energy technology and programs to low-income homeowners as well as to property managers, and affordable housing owners and developers including Community Development Corporations and Municipal Housing Authorities, conducting outreach in collaboration with various partner organizations that serve the low-income population, and providing one-on-one assistance to help low-income residents and low-income housing owners take advantage of clean energy programs and incentives.

“These grant awards build on the important goals of better serving low- and moderate-income residents with access to clean energy sources and strengthening the market for renewable energy processes,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The regional coordination inherent in AARC is a complement to our efforts that helps us lead the nation in reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for providing grants through the Affordable Access to Regional Coordination program which will help regional planning agencies further develop their expertise with clean energy technology and programming to serve low-income individuals,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr., (D-Lowell) Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. “This strategic initiative will further empower regional planning agencies such as the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments to remove barriers that individuals face in adopting clean energy as well as pass along the benefits of lower energy costs and a cleaner environment.”

“Massachusetts has always been a leader when it comes to conservation and for promoting clean, renewable energy,” said State Representative Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury). “These grants will help extend these new technologies to people who need it most and can least afford it.”

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Expand Access to Clean Energy Technology

Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources 

DOER helps create a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future for the Commonwealth.
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