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Three Central Mass Towns Receive $500,000 for Going Green

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

 

The installation of solar panels on municipal buildings is one of the many potential projects the Green Communities grants may be used for.

Three Central Massachusetts communities will receive more than $500,000 in grants to fund clean energy projects this fall, state officials announced on Monday.

Leominster, Berlin and Townsend were among the 17 municipalities that earned the state's Green Community designation in the latest round of awards from Energy and Environmental Affairs and its Department of Energy Resources.

The roughly $2.75 million in grant awards announced Monday by EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan and DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia allocated $245,575 for the city of Leominster, $140,350 for the town of Berlin and $156,825 for Townsend.

“Becoming a Green Community requires hard work, and these grants are a testament to the eagerness with which Leominster, Berlin and Townsend have rolled up their sleeves in support of a clean energy future,” said Sylvia.

In addition to the grant awards, each town will receive a certificate and four road signs identifying it as an official Green Community.

Monday's round of new designations brings the total number of Green Communities in Massachusetts to 103. According to Sylvia, nearly half of Massachusetts residents live in a community that has taken steps to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

“Community by community, we are protecting our environment, reducing municipal costs and making Massachusetts a clean energy leader,” said Governor Deval Patrick.

As designated Green Communities, municipalities are eligible for funding to pursue renewable and energy efficient projects on the local level. Such projects have included the installation of solar panels on public buildings, weatherization at schools and municipal offices and numerous other energy-efficient upgrades. The projects that will receive funding from the latest $2.75 million in awards will be finalized in the coming months.

The Patrick administration has awarded a total of $23.2 million over the course of five rounds of designation grants and one round of competitive grants for previously-designated Green Communities since the program began in 2008, following the passage of the Green Communities Act.

Auctions of carbon emissions permits, part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and annual compliance payments by electricity providers required under the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard provide funding for the grant program.

“I am very proud of both the Town of Townsend and the City of Leominster for becoming a Green Community,” said state Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Worcester-Middlesex).

“Massachusetts has been a national leader in promoting clean energy and I’m happy to see that our cities and towns are following suit. Everybody wins in this because we are making our environment better while providing cost effective solutions for our municipalities.” 

 

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