Program designed to help communities prepare for the effects of climate change
BOSTON – Thursday, May 15, 2014 – The Patrick Administration today announced it is accepting applications for the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, a new grant program made available through Governor Deval Patrick’s $50 million investment in climate preparedness initiatives. This initiative will help ensure energy resiliency at critical facilities that support life safety, lifelines and community resources using clean energy technologies.
“We have already seen firsthand in Massachusetts how devastating a loss of energy can be to a community during times of natural disaster, and predictions are that the impacts of climate change will only make these events more severe going forward,” said Governor Patrick. “This initiative will provide communities across the Commonwealth the opportunity to identify their most critical assets now and utilize clean energy technology to keep their residents safer in the future.”
Through this grant program, $40 million in state funding will be made available to cities and towns that identify the facilities in their community where loss of electrical service would result in disruption of a critical public safety life sustaining function, including emergency services, shelters, food and fuel supply, and communications infrastructure. Municipalities will be able to utilize clean energy technologies to keep their energy systems operable.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for municipalities to prepare for and address the multiple threats of climate change,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “This innovative program demonstrates the Patrick Administration’s commitment to climate change mitigation and preparedness by protecting the Commonwealth and ensuring that our energy grid can sustain more frequent, extreme weather patterns in a manner supporting our clean energy future.”
Under the program, administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), cities and towns can apply for either technical assistance or direct project implementation funding to help protect their communities from interruptions in energy service due to severe climate events worsened by the effects of climate change. Communities that receive a technical assistance award can subsequently apply for project implementation funding.
“These grants will provide an opportunity for cities and towns to tap the technology and expertise of the Commonwealth’s clean energy industry to protect residents and businesses from the effects of climate change,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “We’re pleased to be able to support communities as they take this next step as clean energy leaders.”
The grants will be funded through Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP), which are paid by electrical retail suppliers if they have insufficient Renewable or Alternative Energy Certificates to meet their compliance obligations under the Renewable and Alternative Portfolio Standard programs.
In January, Governor Patrick announced a coordinated plan for climate preparedness to increase resiliency across the Commonwealth. In addition to the energy resiliency initiative, the plan includes funding for critical coastal infrastructure and dam repair, including two new municipal grants offered by the Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). Their Coastal Community Resilience Program offered $1 million in municipal grants to reduce or eliminate risk associated with coastal storms and sea level rise. As natural solutions have often proved to be the best defense against nature, CZM is also implementing a $1 million program for Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience pilot project.
"While we work to address the causes of climate change, we must also work to reduce its impact. These targeted investments will help us do precisely that. They should also remind us that there is a cost to not acting on climate change. That cost grows every day and we need action from our federal government to reduce it," said Senator Benjamin B. Downing, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy.
Since taking office, the Patrick Administration has been committed to mitigating the impacts of climate change by advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Commonwealth. As a result, Massachusetts now has nearly 600 megawatts of wind and solar installed and has established the most ambitious and effective energy efficiency plans in the nation.
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 (ACEEE) has named Massachusetts number one for three years running. 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 and 24 percent growth in the last two years; nearly 80,000 people are employed in the cleantech industry in Massachusetts.