Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has designated 35 cities and towns across the state as leaders in clean energy, making them eligible for grants to fund renewable power and energy efficiency. These “Green Communities” will be eligible for $8.1 million in grants with the aim of advancing the state’s clean energy goals and creating green jobs.
The grants are the result of the Green Communities Act of 2008, which created the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Grant Program, the program uses funding from carbon emission permit auctions. The Green Communities designation is awarded as municipalities meet five key goals including:
- Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right-siting” of renewable energy projects;
- Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
- Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
- Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
- Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building “stretch code”).
Additionally, each of the communities will be getting a Big Belly solar powered waste compactor, these compactors can hold more litter than others which reduces the number of garbage truck trips required to empty them and the communities will also reap the cost savings of solar energy.
“I am pleased to honor the vision and hard work of our first group of official Green Communities,” said Governor Patrick. “These pioneers are notable not only for their commitment to a cleaner, greener Massachusetts, but also for their diversity. From tiny towns to major cities and suburbs in all regions of the state, Massachusetts communities recognize the benefits, for the economy as well as the environment, of making clean energy choices.”
The 35 communities included in this round of awards are: Acton, Arlington, Athol, Andover, Becket, Belchertown, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hamilton, Hanover, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lenox, Lexington, Lincoln, Lowell, Mashpee, Medford, Melrose, Montague, Natick, Newton, Northampton, Palmer, Pittsfield, Salem, Springfield, Sudbury, Tyngsboro, and Wenham.
More information about the program can be found here.