FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2020
Baker-Polito Administration Designates 31 Cities and Towns as Green Communities
84 Percent of the Commonwealth’s Population Now Lives in a Green Community
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced 31 Massachusetts cities and towns have been designated as Green Communities, committing to clean energy goals to reduce energy consumption and lower emissions, and are now eligible for grants totaling $5 million. With today’s designation, 271 of the Commonwealth’s municipalities have earned a Green Communities designation. Since the program began, the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities program has awarded over $123 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“The Green Communities program is instrumental in helping municipalities take action at the local level to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The addition of 31 newly designated communities continues the progress being made by the many municipalities and local officials across the Commonwealth who are on the front lines of Massachusetts’ clean energy efforts.”
“Our administration is committed to aggressively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and this announcement is another step in moving the Commonwealth forward towards a cleaner and more resilient energy future,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “More than three quarters of the diverse cities and towns of the Commonwealth have now earned the Green Communities designation, which has led to substantial energy reductions and fostered tremendous clean energy growth across the state.”
The 271 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 84 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as Boston and as small as Aquinnah. All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent each, and this new group of 31 cities and towns have committed to reduce their energy consumption amounting to savings of 54,519 MMBtus in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,071 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 20,250 tons, equivalent to taking 4,263 cars off the road. Proposed projects include weatherization in schools and municipal buildings, electric vehicles for town and school fleets, and renewable thermal technologies such as air source heat pumps.
“The Green Communities program continues to demonstrate its exceptional effectiveness in lowering emissions and creating a healthier environment in towns and cities across the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “It’s programs like this that have positioned Massachusetts as a national leader in energy efficiency and clean energy policies.
“Today’s designation announcement is a clear representation of the hard work and commitment of the many local officials from municipalities across the Commonwealth who have worked tirelessly to create a cleaner, more affordable and resilient energy future for the state,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “By taking advantage of the resources provided through our Green Communities program, these municipalities will reduce energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions thus contributing to our shared clean energy future.”
DOER awarded funding for projects in these 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.
“I’m proud of leaders in Aquinnah, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, and Nantucket for joining the vast majority of other municipalities in the Commonwealth as Green Communities and making a commitment to reduce carbon emissions and protect our fragile coastal environment,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “The Cape and Islands particularly needs to take bold action to address climate change and plan for a carbon-free future.”
“Ipswich town officials and residents embraced the concept of becoming a Green Community and they took steps to reduce carbon emissions and be more resourceful,” said State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “That leadership provides a great example of local initiatives that make a difference for our region and our state, and deserves the support of the significant funding that the Baker-Polito Administration is providing through this grant and the appellation of becoming a Green Community.”
“I would like to thank Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito and Commissioner Woodcock for their tremendous support to the towns of Brewster and Dennis in their applications to become Green Communities,” said State Representative Timothy R. Whelan (R-Brewster). “Having access to these grants will provide incredible opportunities for the towns to continue making progress towards producing clean energy and lowering emissions.”
“I am proud of the Towns of Ipswich and Georgetown for taking the steps necessary to become a Green Community and for making the commitment to lower their municipal emissions,” said State Representative Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich). “As we continue to lower emissions throughout the Commonwealth, this partnership will bring crucial funding into our towns to not only decrease our carbon footprint, but also to save tax dollars in the long run. I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued efforts in supporting these programs for our cities and towns.”
Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from 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.