by Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
December 28, 2017
The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that an additional 25 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 68 percent of residents live in a Green Community. The 25 new Green Communities are now eligible for grants totaling $4,316,955 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 towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“The Green Communities Program helps the state achieve a renewable energy portfolio, while preserving taxpayer resources,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With over 68 percent of residents living in a green community, the program continues to be a successful model for state and local governments working together to achieve impactful progress and responsible savings.”
“Municipalities across the Commonwealth are an important partner in our Administration’s efforts to utilize renewable energy and meet our carbon reduction goals,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Commonwealth will continue to invest in energy efficiency opportunities so these 25 new communities and future participants can reduce energy consumption and minimize their carbon use.”
The 210 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 70 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as Boston and as small as Rowe. All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent each, and this new group of twenty-five cities and towns have committed to reduce their energy consumption amounting to savings of 296,968 MMBtus in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,302 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 23,630 tons, equivalent to taking 4,975 cars off the road.
“The Green Communities Program is vital to ensuring a balanced approach to long-term energy use reduction and a sustainable Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “I commend the 25 communities joining the Green Communities Program and look forward to continued collaboration in achieving our combined interest of integrating energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.”
“We are proud to work closely with cities and towns in every part of the state,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “The newest Green Communities are helping the Commonwealth create a clean, affordable and resilient energy future.”
“I am very proud of West Boylston and the twenty-four other municipalities who have received their Green Communities designation today,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “Massachusetts residents are committing themselves to a greener future. Their work should set an example for the rest of the nation.”
“Congratulations to Brimfield and New Braintree on their hard work to fulfill the criteria to qualify as a Green Community,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “This municipal-state partnership has been so successful and provides much needed assistance to communities as we strive for a cleaner, more sustainable Commonwealth.”
“Congratulations to Brimfield for earning the Green Communities designation. The town’s commitment to energy conservation and clean energy alternatives will go a long way both for the environment and the bottom line now that they are eligible for Green Communities grants like this one,” said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren).
“I am pleased to see the towns and cities I represent being recognized for their environmental protection efforts,” said State Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). “Becoming a designated green community is a great accomplishment that I am proud to see Franklin, Plainville and Wellesley achieve.”
“Congratulations to the Town of New Braintree on their Green Community designation,” said State Representative Donald Berthiaume (R-Spencer). “This grant funding will allow New Braintree to further reduce their energy costs while freeing up critical municipal dollars for use elsewhere within the town budget.”
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 to 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 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.