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Senator Spilka Announces Green Communities Grants for Hopkinton and Natick

October 16, 2010

Senator Spilka announced today that the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) would be rewarding the towns of Hopkinton and Natick with Green Communities Grants.  The two town’s clean energy efforts qualified them to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state Green Communities grants to finance projects that cut energy use.

“I’d like to thank Hopkinton and Natick for being committed to clean energy,” stated Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland).  “Their hard work has earned them Green Communities grants that will reduce both their energy costs and their greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in more efficient local government operations and cleaner air for their residents.  Hopkinton and Natick are leaders in clean energy, and other towns should be inspired by their example.”

Details of each town’s Green Communities grant is as follows:

  • Hopkinton$137,502 for various energy efficiency measures in the school buildings, DPW Garage, Police Department, Fire Department and Senior Center.
  • Natick $173,526 for a solar PV power purchase agreement at the middle school, for the incremental cost of hybrid vehicles, and for carbon dioxide sensors at Town Hall.

Hopkinton and Natick applied in June for grants to fund local clean energy projects, and were notified of their grants this summer.

Overall, DOER awarded $8.1 million in grants based on a minimum award of $125,000 for each Green Community, with the maximum amount adjusted for population and per capita income.

The signature program of the landmark Green Communities Act of 2008, the DOER’s Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that earn Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:

  • Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right-siting” of renewable energy projects;
  • Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
  • Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and establishing a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
  • Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
  • Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building “stretch code”).
  • In preparation for upcoming Green Communities grants, DOER will take applications until November 19 from cities and towns interested in being designated as Green Communities.
  • Designated communities will then have from December 17, 2010 to January 21, 2011 to apply for local clean energy grants.

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