- Green Communities Division
- Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Presents Green Communities Designation Award to Western Massachusetts Municipalities
Jessica Ridlen, Communications Director, Mass DOER
Orange — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded Green Communities designation grants totaling $948,200 to Chester, Cummington, Hinsdale, Orange, Royalston, Shelburne, and Southampton. The awards will fund clean energy projects and were presented by Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson during ceremonies in Western Massachusetts.
In December of last year, 25 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. Over 200 of the Commonwealth’s municipalities have earned their Green Communities designation and 72 percent of residents now live in a Green Community. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded over $85 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“The Green Communities program is a model for how state and local governments can work together to implement responsible energy policies that best serve the people of Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By participating in the Green Communities program these towns will have additional resources to reduce their carbon footprints, secure energy savings and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
“The Commonwealth is well served by municipal partners in the western portion of the state who prioritize reducing energy consumption, which produces savings that can be directed to vital municipal needs,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Today’s announcement is another step we are taking to provide cities and towns across the Commonwealth the tools they need to continue to lead the way in energy efficiency.”
The Commonwealth’s 210 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 72 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 25 newly designated Green Communities have committed to reduce their energy consumption by 296,967 MMBTUs in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering 2,302 homes, and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction of 23,630 metric tons equivalent to taking 4,975 cars off the roads.
“By investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency these towns are working to create a net positive impact on energy consumption while ensuring environmental protection,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “With today’s designation, the Green Communities program continues to prove an effective tool in building a clean, renewable energy future for the Commonwealth.”
“DOER is proud to partner with communities across Massachusetts as they embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency at the local level,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “These designations mark the first step in the 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:
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.
Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from 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.
“I am very pleased to see the collaboration between the DOER and the towns of Royalston and Orange. DOER continues to help our communities find clean energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen our local economies.” Susannah Whipps (I -Athol)
“I’m thrilled that Chester, Cummington, Hinsdale and Shelburne are now designated as Green Communities,” said State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield). “Taking this step to improve the collective efforts to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy is good news for the entire Commonwealth.”
“Congratulations to Southampton for receiving this important designation from DOER,” said Senator Don Humason (R–Westfield). “This grant funding represents a partnership between the Baker-Polito Administration and these cities and towns, which will help strengthen each community’s continued efforts to improve energy efficiency, reduce local utility costs, and promote taxpayer savings.”
“Chester, Cummington and Shelburne have worked hard to earn the Green Community designation, and I commend them 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). “These communities, their people, and the entire planet will benefit from Chester, Cummington and Shelburne’s dedication to strong environmental values.”
As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to combat and prepare for climate change, Governor Baker recently filed legislation to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities. The legislation would put into law essential components of Governor Baker’s Executive Order 569, which established an integrated strategy for climate change adaptation across the Commonwealth, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program and the Statewide Hazard Mitigation and Adaptation Plan – a blueprint to protect residents, communities, and local economies.
A full list of projects funded by the Green Communities program can be found here.