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Communities Awarded $7 Million for Municipal-resiliency Projects

BOSTON – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett has awarded $7.4 million in grants to municipalities under the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative.

The funding will be used for six projects to implement clean-energy technologies to improve resiliency at critical facilities, including two in Western Mass. This is the first round of grants through the initiative, which is part of Gov. Deval Patrick’s comprehensive climate-change-preparedness effort.

“This initiative is about being proactive and not waiting until the next severe storm to react,” the governor said. “These grants will assist communities in delivering critical services to residents, keeping people safer during times of danger.”

Through the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, $40 million in state funding is available to cities and towns that identify the facilities in their communities where the loss of electrical service would result in the disruption of a critical public-safety or life-sustaining function, including emergency services, shelters, food and fuel supply, and communications infrastructure. Municipalities can use the funding to implement clean-energy technologies to keep their energy systems operable.

“The Patrick Administration is committed to innovative solutions that both mitigate and prepare for climate change impacts in the Commonwealth,” said Bartlett. “We are proud to partner with municipalities to prevent disruption to critical facilities and services during times of emergency, while also continuing to secure our clean-energy future in the long term.”

Projects eligible for funding include clean-energy generation, energy storage, energy-management systems, islanding technologies, and microgrids.

The city of Springfield was awarded $2.79 million to develop, in partnership with Baystate Health, a 4.6-megawatt combined heat and power plant, which will provide electricity, chilled water, and steam to the hospital. The plant will include a gas turbine generator, heat-recovery steam generator, absorption chiller, black-start diesel generator, and load-management system. The plant will produce 80% of the hospital’s annual energy consumption, 68% of its electricity, and 97% of its steam.

Meanwhile, the city of Northampton was awarded $525,401 to incorporate solar PV and batteries with existing diesel generation at the Northampton Fire Department Headquarters, the sole city facility capable of providing a significant number of critical municipal services. The project will allow for diversified fuel sources available for power production during an extended outage, prioritize new emergency power-generation systems, offset use of emergency fuel oil during long-term power outages, reduce the environmental impacts from power generation for the facility, and improve grid-tied power reliability by enabling peak-shaving and load shedding.

Other communities to win awards through the Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative include Boston, Berkley/Taunton, the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District, and the South Essex Sewerage District.

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