87 Percent of the Commonwealth’s Population Now Resides in a Green Community
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced six Massachusetts municipalities within the southeast region of the state have been designated as Green Communities, committing to clean energy and energy efficiency goals to reduce energy usage and lower greenhouse gas emissions, and are now eligible for grants totaling more than $900,000. With today’s designation, 286 of the Commonwealth’s municipalities representing 87 percent of the state’s residents have earned a Green Communities designation. Since the program began in 2009, the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities program has awarded more than$160 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“Congratulations to these six newly designated Green Communities for their commitment to reducing energy consumption and adopting clean energy initiatives,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As Massachusetts moves toward achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050, Green Communities are helping to lead the way to a sustainable future for all residents.”
“We are excited to work with these six new Green Communities as they move forward with energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that expand our collective efforts in achieving our clean energy goals,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This kind of action at the local level helps Massachusetts continue to be a national leader in energy efficiency, clean energy policies, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The 286 Green Communities range from Great Barrington to Newburyport and are home to 87 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as the City of Boston and as small as the Town of Peru. All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent each. The commitment of this new group of six towns to reduce their energy consumption amounts to a savings of 50,881 MMBtus in five years, equivalent to heating and powering nearly 394 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 3,516 tons, which is equivalent to taking 740 cars off the road. Proposed projects include weatherization improvements in schools and municipal buildings, electric vehicles for town and school fleets, and renewable thermal technologies, such as air source heat pumps.
“We are thrilled to partner with these six southeast region towns who have made the important commitment to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy in order to reduce energy costs and emissions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “Bourne, East Bridgewater, Eastham, Edgartown, Mansfield, and Oak Bluffs have demonstrated real dedication to reduce energy consumption which will greatly benefit their communities, the region and the state as we work to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
“Now more than ever with the recent increase in oil and natural gas pricing, the transition to efficient clean technologies is critical for both municipal budgets and our transition to a net-zero economy,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “The vision, hard work and leadership of these six newly dedicated Green Communities to implement clean energy projects and reduce building and transportation emissions is helping move Massachusetts to a clean energy future.”
DOER has awarded more than $900,000 in grants to fund future projects in these newly designated Green Communities:
“I am very pleased that Bourne has been selected as one of our state’s Green Communities,” said State Representative Steve Xiarhos (R-Barnstable). “This is proof positive of the commitment the residents of Bourne, and other communities on the Cape, have made toward energy efficiency and transitioning to renewable energy sources. This is an important priority, and this grant will go a long way toward helping the town meet those commitments in the future.”
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. Additionally, funding for these grants is available through proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).