BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a series of funding totaling over $100 million to state entities for programs focused on climate readiness and reaching the Commonwealth’s 2030 and 2050 decarbonization goals. The funding will support the expansion of clean transportation programs, seed climate finance support mechanisms, and support anticipated decarbonization grant programs for low- and moderate-income housing.
“By providing these significant funds, we are better positioning the Commonwealth as it pursues a clean energy transition,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “After laying the groundwork with the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan and the signing of landmark climate acts, we must continue to take meaningful action in order to create a lasting and sustainable Commonwealth.”
“This comprehensive support of clean energy solutions in transportation and our existing buildings will lead to a healthier and more sustainable future for the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Delivering the reliable benefits of clean energy to Massachusetts residents has been the impetus behind our decarbonization work, and I’m thrilled we can make this lasting investment.”
The primary source of this funding is through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) Climate Protection and Mitigation Expendable Trust, supplemented in part by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and other agency resources. Funds from the Trust will be allocated to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) for its clean transportation and climate finance work, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) for its planned Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Decarbonization Grant Program, and within the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for solid waste vehicle electrification grants.
“The funding commitment we are making today represents a significant step towards achieving our Commonwealth’s net zero by 2050 goals,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “These innovative programs will enable Massachusetts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a focus on equity and public health across our critical energy, transportation, and building sectors.”
MassCEC is receiving funding to initiate a $22 million program for climate finance support and acceleration efforts. This pilot program can leverage private funding to expand access and availability of capital, focusing on decarbonization projects for existing buildings and reaching underserved communities. The agency is also receiving $24 million to support and expand upon its robust Accelerating Clean Transportation (ACT) initiatives, which launched in 2020. The agency will direct grants to:
- ACT Vehicles for Hire for infrastructure growth;
- ACT4All to support innovation and equity objectives;
- ACT e-bikes to provide wraparound service grants to community organizations;
- ACT School Bus for a second round of funding for technical assistance and infrastructure grants; and,
- EV Consumer Support webpage to provide EV purchasing guidance.
Additionally, MassCEC’s ACT School Bus Program, which provides both technical advisory services and funding for a public school district to begin electrifying its school bus fleet, is awarding over $9 million as part of its first round of ACT School Bus Deployment funding to the following entities:
- Lawrence Public Schools for $1,675,000;
- Quincy Public Schools for $355,000;
- Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative for $2,000,000;
- New Bedford Public Schools for $1,970,000;
- Fall River Public Schools for $2,000,000; and,
- Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School for $1,480,490.
“Through clean transportation programs, the Baker-Polito Administration is further supporting community partnerships and program models that provide solutions to the education, income, and geographic barriers within the clean transportation market,” said MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “The additional funding for MassCEC’s climate finance work will enable the agency to explore how finance tools can facilitate building decarbonization.”
Furthermore, DOER plans to commit up to $50 million in funding for a Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Decarbonization Grant Program. The program is anticipated to support energy efficiency and clean energy investments in low- and moderate-income housing by providing grant funding for decarbonization retrofits. Health benefits for residents of retrofitted buildings include indoor air quality improvements, improved comfort, and local air pollution reduction. The program is expected to improve housing stock for low- or moderate-income residents, including through cleaner and more efficient heating and hot water systems and a more efficient building envelope. The Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Decarbonization Grant Program is anticipated to provide significant investments in the building sector and will leverage Mass Save programs, including a new program being launched this month as part of the 2022-2024 Energy Efficiency Plan to provide incentives for affordable housing deep energy retrofits through Mass Save. Decarbonization of Massachusetts’ existing buildings is a critical component of the Commonwealth’s strategy to achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and Net Zero by 2050.
“The Low- and Moderate-Income Housing Decarbonization Grant Program will expand on Massachusetts’ progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector and provide energy efficiency and building decarbonization programs in a way that is affordable and equitable,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “In addition to reducing energy bills and improving public health, these investments will collectively reduce our vulnerability to high energy pricing and the Commonwealth’s total demand of expensive imported fossil fuels.”
MassDEP will also utilize $4 million for a grant program to support the electrification of Solid Waste Collection Vehicles, including waste collection and recycling trucks operating in Massachusetts communities. This funding will facilitate the ongoing municipal transition to fleet electrification. Replacing older diesel vehicles with new electric vehicles will deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and public health benefits. MassDEP will issue a project solicitation in early 2023 to begin the grant program.
“The scope and breadth of this funding supports innovation in a number of sectors,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The Solid Waste grant program we are announcing today will jumpstart replacement of older, often diesel-fueled waste collection trucks with cleaner, more efficient electric and hybrid vehicles helping to fight climate change and improve air quality in our communities.”
Including this funding, the Baker-Polito Administration has recently taken significant steps to support and advance major clean energy and climate readiness initiatives. This includes the release of the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan, which provides the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with a comprehensive plan to achieve the Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions limit; the creation of a publicly available web-based Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Dashboard to provide key performance indicators relevant to the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plans; the awarding of $180 million in funding through the Offshore Wind Ports Infrastructure Investment Challenge to improve and develop port infrastructure at three key harbors along the Massachusetts coast; and the release of the “MA Climate Change Assessment,” which is the first statewide assessment detailing how Massachusetts people, environments, and infrastructure may be affected by climate change and related hazards through the end of the century.
MassDEP’s Climate Protection and Mitigation Expendable Trust was created in 2018 to support programs and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. Proceeds are generated by auction from the in-state cap on emissions from electricity-generating facilities and alternative compliance payments under the Clean Energy Standard (CES).
“I’m proud of the work done in the Legislature to support these projects, as they are vital in our efforts to making clean energy more affordable, electrify our transportation sector, and meet the Commonwealth’s important climate goals,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). “I want to thank my colleagues in the House, and our partners in the Senate and in the Administration, for their shared commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building a better Massachusetts in the process.”
“Governments must act internationally, nationally, and locally to address the ever-increasing threat of climate change. The environmental bill that the Legislature passed this session, along with today’s announcement of state and federal funding will, I hope, effect meaningful changes in Quincy and throughout the Commonwealth,” said State Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy). “Even as we celebrate this commitment today, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the next legislative session to do more to protect current and future generations from the impacts of climate change.”
“Investing in clean and sustainable energy has been a cornerstone of the legislature’s efforts, especially with the passage of the 2050 Road Map,” said State Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). “I’m pleased to see the administration’s commitment to these important initiatives, particularly with the support given to the Quincy Public Schools.”
“Massachusetts continues to prioritize both its infrastructure development and climate preparedness,” said State Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy). “I am thrilled that Quincy Public Schools will receive funding to begin electrifying its school bus fleet. This is one of the many ways we are moving towards decarbonization. We are also investing in reducing emissions in our low- and moderate-income housing to improve the quality of living for our residents while also supporting clean energy alternatives.”