Longmeadow and Williamsburg receive Green Communities designations and more than $295,000 in grant funds
WILLIAMSBURG – Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today awarded Williamsburg and Longmeadow with $298,000 in Green Communities grants to fund municipal clean energy projects.
“These municipalities are now two of the 123 Green Communities across the Commonwealth making smart investments in clean energy,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Community by community, we are protecting our environment, reducing municipal costs and making Massachusetts a clean energy leader.”
“It’s exciting to see these communities count themselves among the leaders taking charge of their clean energy future,” said Secretary Sullivan. “The Patrick Administration continues to support towns that are cutting energy use, creating jobs and protecting the environment. Their efforts are critical to the Commonwealth’s clean energy revolution.”
The municipalities received a certificate from the Commonwealth and road signs identifying them as Green Communities. The Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Division officially designated the towns in December, recognizing achievements in meeting five clean energy benchmarks. The grants each community received are as follows:
“Massachusetts’ clean energy revolution continues its momentum in large part because of leadership at the local level,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “Longmeadow and Williamsburg, and 121 more communities continue to spread renewable energy and efficiency efforts across our Commonwealth, saving money and energy for their residents and businesses, and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”
The grants are part of more than $2 million in funding awarded to the state’s 13 newest Green Communities. In addition to those awarded today, Acushnet, Amesbury, Ashby, Blackstone, Concord, Framingham, Lunenburg, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Plympton, Westford and West Newbury have received designations and awards.
Once designated by DOER as official Green Communities, cities and towns are eligible for awards to fund local renewable power and energy efficiency projects that advance both municipal and state clean energy goals. Grants awarded so far have funded a variety of projects across the state, including the installation of solar panels on town office buildings, weatherization at schools and municipal buildings, installation of high-efficiency street lights, and other energy efficiency upgrades.
“I am so pleased to celebrate Williamsburg’s commitment to clean energy today,” said Senator Benjamin B. Downing, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “Massachusetts is truly leading the way in investing in renewable energy. The 123 Green Communities across Massachusetts are collectively making choices that will help our environment today and in the future.”
"I congratulate the town of Williamsburg for doing the hard work necessary to earn the Green Community designation and being awarded these funds for energy improvements throughout the community,” said Representative Stephen Kulik. “This investment in a cleaner and more energy efficient future will result in benefits and savings for years to come, and sets a great example for other communities, especially small rural towns, to follow."
Including this seventh round of designation grants and two rounds of competitive grants, the Patrick Administration has awarded nearly $30 million in grants to the Commonwealth’s 123 Green Communities. Available to eligible Green Communities that have successfully invested their previous Green Communities grants, applications for DOER’s third round of Green Communities Competitive Grants will be due at the end of March.
To date, the 123 Green Communities have committed to a total energy reduction equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 15,000 homes. In greenhouse gas reduction terms, this commitment equates to taking approximately 34,000 cars off the road.
DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, a result of the Green Communities Act (GCA) signed by Governor Patrick in 2008, is funded through auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as Alternative Compliance Payments made by electricity suppliers under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
A report by the Analysis Group, released last month, shows that aside from the tremendous environmental and health benefits of the GCA, the law will create $1.2 billion in net economic benefits and more than 16,000 jobs in Massachusetts during the first six years of implementation (2010-2015).
The Patrick Administration’s aggressive clean energy initiatives have made Massachusetts a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy and emissions reductions. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has named Massachusetts number one for three years running. This year, Governor Patrick set a new solar goal after reaching the previous goal of 250 megawatts four years early. The Commonwealth now aims to install 1,600 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020. The clean energy revolution is yielding economic benefits as well, with 11.8 percent job growth in the last year; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the cleantech industry in Massachusetts.