BOSTON – The Patrick-Murray administration in Massachusetts has awarded $3.6M in grants to the State’s 18 newly selected “Green Communities,” which earned this designation last December. This grant money, which is awarded by the State’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER), will pay for a range of projects, including the purchase of hybrid and alternative-fuel municipal vehicles.

In Hatfield, grant money will fund the purchase of an electric light-duty truck for use by multiple departments. The City of Marlborough plans to purchase a hybrid vehicle. And in Medway, the City plans to use grant money to install anti-idling devices on all town vehicles. There are now 53 official Green Communities in Massachusetts, including 35 cities and towns named in the DOER’s inaugural round of Green Communities designations last May.

DOER calculates Green Communities grants using a formula that caps awards at $1 million and provides each community with a $125,000 base grant plus additional amounts based on per capita income and population, and for municipalities that meet Green Communities Criterion 1 for energy generation.

"I applaud these 18 communities - and the 35 that came before them - for the critical role they are playing in creating a clean energy future for the Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Across the Commonwealth, cities and towns recognize the benefits, for the economy as well as the environment, of making clean energy choices."

According to DOER, its Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that win Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:

  • Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows "as-of-right siting" for renewable and/or alternative energy R & D facilities, manufacturing facilities or generation units;
  • Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
  • Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program 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").