Baker-Polito Administration Expands Grants for Clean Heating and Cooling Systems

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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Sep 29, 2016 –

The Baker-Polito Administration, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), today announced the launch of a package of programs that will provide grants of up to $250,000 for large, commercial-scale clean heating and cooling systems. The new programs, which complement the rebates already available for single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums, will allow businesses, nonprofits, government entities and multi-family residential facilities across the Commonwealth to be eligible for rebates up to $250,000 for biomass heating and ground-source heat pump projects and $225,000 for air-source pump projects.

“By helping large-scale energy users offset the costs of adopting clean energy solutions, we not only curb harmful environmental effects but cut long-term energy costs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We encourage large energy consumers from across the Commonwealth to participate in these new programs.”

“By supporting a marketplace for clean energy industries, we’re creating local jobs and economic activity around these projects,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The programs will help the Commonwealth continue to lead the way on clean energy, energy efficiency and the adoption of innovative technologies.”

Cost savings – in some cases up to 50 percent – are most significant for facilities switching from electric baseboard heating, oil and propane heating systems. In addition, these technologies provide an excellent alternative for energy consumers in areas where natural gas access is not available, or areas where there are moratoriums on new natural gas hook ups, such as in Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod. These systems are also cost-effective alternatives to existing systems that are reaching their end of life as they can be two-to-three times more efficient than outdated fossil fuel systems and feature increased versatility as heat pumps have the ability to provide both heating and cooling.  

“Heating makes up one-third of Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas emissions, so this program will help the Commonwealth meet our emissions reduction requirements,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Along with ongoing energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption, clean heating and cooling options add to the diversity of our energy portfolio.”

“These programs make cost-effective energy solutions available not only for homes but now to farms, town halls and factories,” said MassCEC Interim CEO Steve Pike. “Designed to spur both adoption and economic development in tandem, these programs will result in lower energy costs and reduce the negative impacts on the environment.”

As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Initiative, the clean heating and cooling programs also offer increased incentive levels for projects at affordable housing developments.

“Massachusetts’ commercial and residential partners play a critical role in diversifying our state’s energy portfolio and these grants will allow for increased access to new, clean and energy efficient heating and cooling innovations,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “Paired with our existing programs, the Commonwealth’s ratepayers now have unprecedented opportunities to adopt cost effective, emissions reducing energy technologies.”

“Targeted incentives for commercial energy consumers can really make a difference in helping them to conserve resources, reduce emissions, and move our state closer to meeting aggressive environmental goals without compromising their ability to provide and create jobs. This program is just such a tool,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

“Every step we take to reduce the amount of energy we use and use what we do smarter is a step in the right direction away from fossil fuels and towards and a clean energy future,” said State Senator Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield). “I'm excited to see businesses utilize these tools to lower their bills and their carbon footprint.”

“This program will make energy efficient upgrades feasible for many businesses seeking to lower their costs,” said State Representative Joseph F. Wagner (D-Chicopee), House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “MassCEC continues to play a key role in ensuring Massachusetts remains a leader in clean energy.”

“This new grant program will significantly enhance the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the use of more energy efficient technologies,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “I join with the Baker-Polito Administration to encourage commercial property owners to apply for this funding so they can enjoy the same environmental and cost-savings benefits currently available to residential customers.”

“Two of Massachusetts’ most important goals are lowering energy costs and reducing fossil fuel emissions, and these programs will help us make progress on achieving both,” said State Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “The programs will also create jobs and help an emerging clean tech industry grow. It’s an exciting moment for sustainable development in the Commonwealth.”

“I commend the Administration and MassCEC for these strategic grants that will result in cost savings and emission reductions for large energy users and the Commonwealth,” stated State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr. (D-Lowell), Chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.  “Incentivizing clean heating and cooling technologies is one step of many towards a truly clean energy future.”

The program is administered by MassCEC and funded by the Renewable Energy Trust, which was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1998. The trust is funded by municipal electric departments that have opted to participate in the program, along with a systems benefit charge paid by electric customers of investor-owned utilities in the state. DOER has committed $1.35 million of Alternative Compliance Payment funding to supporting the installation of cost-saving clean heating technologies at low- and moderate-income housing.