BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration 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.”
“I am pleased that Webster and Douglas have achieved their designation as ‘Green Communities’ by committing to meeting the States renewable energy targets," added Representative McKenna (R-Webster). "This designation allows these towns to receive significant financial supports from the State to complete projects to reduce energy consumption and emissions, ultimately saving taxpayer money, freeing up the municipal budget to meet other pressing needs, and creating a better quality of life for all.”
“I am grateful for the hard work of local officials and the Baker-Polito Administration in helping to bring green communities into fruition. The program continues to be an example of the working partnership between the Commonwealth and towns alike," added Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Webster)
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.”
DOER awarded funding for projects in the following 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 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.