BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration recently awarded Green Communities designation grants totaling $1,446,675 to Agawam, Blandford, Chicopee, Granville, Ware, Warren, and Westfield. The awards will fund clean-energy projects and were presented by Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton and Department of Energy Resource (DOER) Commissioner Judith Judson in a recent ceremony at Chicopee City Hall.
Earlier this year, 30 Massachusetts cities and towns were designated by DOER as Green Communities, committing to an ambitious renewable-energy agenda to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Currently, more than half of the Commonwealth’s municipalities have earned the Green Communities designation, and 64% of residents live in a Green Community. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded more than $65 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
“The Green Communities program is an excellent example of how state and local governments can work together to save taxpayer money and promote responsible energy policies,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Our newest Green Communities will now have additional resources to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, locking in energy savings for residents and reducing their carbon footprints.”
Added Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, “our municipal partners continue to help us lead the way on renewable energy by adopting practices that allow them to reduce energy consumption, while saving money that can be directed to vital municipal functions, like public safety and education. We look forward to continuing to provide cities and towns across the Commonwealth the tools they need to reduce energy costs, usage, and emissions.”
The funding amounts include $207,970 to Agawam, $138,425 to Blandford, $367,160 to Chicopee, $139,280 to Granville, $169,535 to Ware, $157,740 to Warren, and $266,565 to Westfield.
The Commonwealth’s 185 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding, including reducing municipal energy consumption by 20% over five years. The 30 newly designated Green Communities have committed to reducing their energy consumption amounting to savings of $6,241,862 of energy costs and 2,234,090 MMBtu in five years, the energy-use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,718 homes, and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 27,641 metric tons, equivalent to taking 5,819 cars off the roads.
“When Massachusetts’ cities and towns invest in renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, everyone wins, from taxpayer savings to a statewide reduction in emissions,” Beaton said. “With these designations, DOER’s Green Communities program continues to prove an effective tool in building a clean, renewable-energy future for the Commonwealth.”
Added Judson, “DOER is proud to work with cities and towns across Massachusetts as they take important steps in embracing renewable energy and energy efficiency at the local level. These designations are simply the beginning of an important relationship between the Commonwealth and our municipal partners as we work towards our shared clean-energy goals.”