- Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Presents Green Communities Designation Award to Merrimack Valley Municipalities
Jessica Ridlen, Communications Director, Mass DOER
Haverhill — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded Green Communities designation grants totaling $1,286,901 to Billerica, Boxford, Dracut, Haverhill, Methuen and Merrimac. The awards will fund clean energy projects and were presented by Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson during a ceremony at Haverhill Public Library.
In December of last year, 30 communities across Massachusetts were 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 240 of the Commonwealth’s municipalities having earned their Green Communities designation, 78 percent of residents now live in a Green Community. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded over $100 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“We are proud to support the Green Communities program and the work it allows state and local governments to do in order to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through responsible clean energy policies,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Cities and towns that participate in the Green Communities program have access to additional resources help facilitate investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects while reducing energy costs and carbon footprints.”
“The Commonwealth is proud to partner with municipalities like these in the Merrimack Valley, who are making tremendous strides to reduce energy consumption and save money,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This grant funding is another step we are taking to provide cities and towns across the Commonwealth with the tools they need to continue to move Massachusetts forward as a leader in clean energy.”
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 30 newly designated Green Communities have committed to reduce their energy consumption by 293,936 MMBTUs in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering 2,281 homes, and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction of 21,380 metric tons equivalent to taking 4,501 cars off the roads.
“These six communities are committed to working with the Commonwealth to create a cleaner energy future by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “With today’s designation, the Green Communities program continues to prove an effective tool in collaborating with our municipal partners to reduce energy costs, consumption and emissions.”
“DOER is proud to partner with communities across Massachusetts as they embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency to improve municipal operations and the environment,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “These grants represent another milestone for both the communities and the Commonwealth as we continue to collaborate to meet our shared energy goals.”
DOER awarded funding for projects in these newly designated Green Communities:
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.
“Town officials and residents in Boxford have not only enthusiastically embraced the concept of being a Green Community, they have taken major steps to generate renewable solar energy and reduce carbon emissions,” said Senator Bruce Tarr, (R-Gloucester). “That leadership provides a great example of local initiatives that make a difference for our region and our state, and deserves the support of the significant funding that the Baker-Polito Administration is providing through this grant. This is a great partnership that holds tremendous promise for the future.”
“The Green Communities Grants created by the Legislature provides communities the flexibility to achieve energy efficiencies immediately,” said Representative Linda Dean Campbell, (D-Methuen). “The goals they have achieved thus far are exciting and bode well for the Commonwealth.”
“The Merrimack Valley is home to some of the greenest communities in Massachusetts, so it is great to see Haverhill, Methuen and Merrimac receive Green Community designations and grants,” said Senator Diana DiZoglio, (D-Methuen). “The Cities of Haverhill and Methuen are among the most forward-thinking cities in the Commonwealth when it comes to clean energy policy. I am also pleased to see the state honor the Town of Merrimac, a small but vital community here in the Merrimack Valley. If we are to have a cleaner, greener and more energy efficient tomorrow in Massachusetts, we have to incentivize green development in our rural communities as well. This award is a step toward doing just that.”
Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from the Renewable Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as well as 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.
A full list of projects funded by the Green Communities program can be found here.