The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Green Communities Division today announced a $500,000 pilot program to help local communities identify energy efficiency, renewable energy and other clean energy strategies to meet local energy needs.
The Community Energy Strategies Program will provide technical and financial assistance for up to four municipalities and at least one regional planning authority to help identify, prioritize and enable a mix of clean energy strategies and incentives best suited to address local interests, needs, resources and opportunities for clean energy development.
The program is designed to help communities assess and evaluate clean energy investments ranging from high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment and insulation to wind turbines and solar photovoltaic systems.
“Many Massachusetts communities have strong interest in pursuing clean energy development, but lack the technical and financial capacity to identify and take full advantage of local clean energy opportunities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “The program will enable local communities to maximize their clean energy potential.”
“This pilot program is one more way for DOER to help communities identify resources that are available to assist them in growing their clean energy portfolio,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “We hope that our partnership with MassCEC will lead to an increase of wind, solar, anaerobic digestion and other clean energy projects, which will benefit local residents and Massachusetts as a whole.”
“An ideal approach to clean energy employs a combination of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton McDevitt. “Projects that work for one community may not work for another, and thus this program is designed to help municipalities find the best projects for their communities.”
Massachusetts lies at the end of the energy pipeline – lacking indigenous supplies of traditional energy resources. As a result, Massachusetts has some of the highest energy costs in the nation. Of the $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually on energy, $18 billion of that goes to out-of-state and foreign sources.
The state’s growing renewable energy portfolio and emphasis on energy efficiency – the state’s “first fuel” - keeps more of that spending in the Massachusetts economy, while creating local jobs. As a result of Massachusetts’ progressive clean energy policies, clean energy jobs in Massachusetts have grown by 11.2 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the 2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.