- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Boston — February 2, 2017 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that an additional 30 Massachusetts cities and towns have been designated by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as Green Communities, committing to an ambitious renewable energy agenda to reduce energy consumption and emissions. With today’s designation, over half of the Commonwealth’s municipalities have earned their Green Communities designation and 64 percent of residents live in a Green Community. The 30 new Green Communities are now eligible for grants totaling $6,460,385 to complete renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in their communities. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded over $65 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and town through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“The Green Communities program is an excellent example of how state and local governments can work together to save taxpayer money and promote responsible energy policies,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The thirty new Green Communities named today will now have additional resources to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, locking in energy savings for residents and reducing their carbon footprints.”
“Our municipal partners continue to help lead the way on renewable energy by adopting practices that reduce their energy consumption, while channeling savings toward vital municipal functions, like public safety and education,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We will continue to provide cities and towns across the Commonwealth the tools they need to reduce energy costs, usage and emissions.”
The Commonwealth’s 185 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 64 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as Boston and as small as Rowe. Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding, including reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. The newly designated Green Communities have committed to reducing their energy consumption amounting to savings of $6,241,862 of energy costs and 2,234,090 MMBtu in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,718 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 27,641 metric tons, equivalent to taking 5,819 cars off the roads.
“When Massachusetts’ cities and towns invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs everyone wins, from taxpayers savings to a statewide reduction in emissions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton. “With today’s designation, DOER’s Green Communities program continues to prove an effective tool in building a clean, renewable energy future for the Commonwealth.”
“DOER is proud to work with cities and towns across Massachusetts as they take important steps in embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency at the local level,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judson. “Today’s designations are simply the beginning of an important relationship between the Commonwealth and our municipal partners as we work towards our shared clean energy goals.”
DOER awarded funding for projects in these newly designated Green Communities include:
“Congratulations to the people of Erving for their designation as a Green Community. Reducing our carbon footprint and energy consumption is critical to fighting climate change and preserving our environment for future generations,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “This grant funding will help build out future clean energy infrastructure to protect our environment and increase energy efficiency.”
“Leadership and action at the municipal level are essential to our state's success in conserving resources and capturing renewable energy,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Rockport and North Andover are making an important commitment to our future by becoming Green Communities, and receiving significant grant funding to propel initiatives that work for people in each town and will make a difference for our Commonwealth.”
“North Andover and Salisbury join two other communities in the First Essex Senate District, Newburyport and Amesbury, which have earned the Green Communities designation,” said State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport). “The grant funding that accompanies this designation will strengthen the ability of North Andover and Salisbury to continue their energy efficiency initiatives, including upgrades to heating and cooling systems in municipal buildings, installation of LED street lighting, and investment in electronic vehicles.”
“I’m thrilled that Blandford, Clarksburg, Hawley, North Adams and Plainfield are now designated as Green Communities,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield). “Taking this step to improve their collective efforts to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy is good news for the entire Commonwealth.”
“As our Commonwealth continues moving towards clean and renewable energy sources, the Green Communities Grant program has played a vital role in helping municipalities achieve their individual sustainability goals and reduce energy consumption,” said State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett). “I commend the City of Chelsea for their impressive efforts and hope that this award will help to further advance the great work already underway.”
"Residents of Chicopee should be proud that their efforts to reduce energy consumption have been recognized," said State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow). “I am glad that Chicopee is helping Massachusetts lead the nation in finding clean energy solutions to our energy challenges.”
“Our office is thrilled that Salisbury is moving towards finding cleaner energy solutions to reduce long term energy costs in the community,” said State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). “We are looking forward to working with the town to qualify for important grant funding as a result of the designation.”
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration for providing the City of Chelsea with a ‘Green Community Grant,” said State Representative RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere). “Through their generosity, the City of Chelsea will be able to use this funding to work with the DOER to find clean energy solutions that will, over time, reduce long-term energy costs and help the City’s local economy.”
“This is a win-win for our region. Through the Green Communities Program, Erving has an opportunity to reduce its long-term energy costs and support clean, renewable energy,” said State Representative Susannah Whipps (R-Athol). “It's such an honor when our smaller communities are recognized for forward thinking when it comes to sustainability.”
“The small rural town of Plainfield has worked hard to earn the Green Community designation, and I commend its citizens for their vision to use energy more efficiently and for making this commitment to transition toward a cleaner and greener energy future,” said State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington). “The community, its people, and the entire planet will benefit from Plainfield's dedication to strong environmental values.”
“This is very exciting news for the small town of Blandford in my district. With new leadership in the community with a vision for the future this is welcome news,”said State Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox). “I want to thank DOER for recognizing the impacts, even in our smallest towns, of investing in renewable energy.”
“I want to congratulate the City of Chelsea for all their work toward this Green Communities designation and the Department of Energy Resources for their guidance,” said State Representative Daniel Ryan (D-Boston). “The Green Communities program is great example of state and local partnerships lessening the impact on our environment while helping to run our cities and towns more efficiently.”
Under the Green Communities Act, DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant Program can provide up to $20 million annually to qualified cities and towns. The goal of the Designation Grant Program is support communities’ investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the clean energy goals determined by the designated communities. Initial Designation Grants are based on a $125,000 base for each designated Green Community, plus additional amounts tied to per capita income and population, and for municipalities that provide as-of-right siting for renewable energy generation.
“The Green Communities Program is an outstanding example of the strong partnership that the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature have forged with cities and towns,” said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. “Communities all across the state will use these grant funds for innovative programs to reduce energy usage and invest in renewable energy projects, and the benefits will flow to taxpayers and the environment.”
Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from carbon allowance auctions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.