It has been over two years since Governor Baker enacted the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program, and nearly one year since the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released its final set of proposed regulations for the program. In our latest SMART update, we take a look at where the program currently stands and what energy providers can expect next (read our previous updates here and here).
On November 1, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $3.7 million in grants to increase the adoption of cost-saving clean energy technologies by Massachusetts low-income residents as part of the Commonwealth’s Affordable Clean Residential Energy Program (ACRE).
The most effective local clean energy projects result from thorough, targeted, and well-supported research that puts the needs of the surrounding community at the forefront. To support such research efforts in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $661,000 in Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) grants to 56 cities and towns across the Commonwealth earlier this month to research, develop, and implement clean energy projects.
The META grants, a function of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Division, were allocated to designated “Green Communities” ( municipalities, regional school districts, and water/wastewater districts) to support more informed clean energy decision-making through localized studies and data analysis. This support will include the services of expert consultants and contractors to assist with a diverse array of local energy projects. META grants are funded through proceeds from Alternative Compliance Payments under the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard.
The Green Communities Division of DOER strives to help all 351 Massachusetts cities, towns, and regional planning authorities find clean energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen local economies. The division provides technical assistance and financial support for municipal initiatives to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy in public buildings, facilities and schools. In order to become a designated Green Community, and in turn become eligible for grants that finance local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, a municipality must meet five key criteria: 1) provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities; 2) adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities; 3) establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent within five years; 4) purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles; and 5) set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code.
The projects and studies funded this year will include solar photovoltaic site evaluation, heating system replacements, ASHRAE Level II audits, technical analysis of energy use at drinking water and wastewater facilities and technical assistance with Green Community reporting and application. These studies promise to incentivize wide-scale energy efficiency and catalyze critical partnerships between Massachusetts communities and clean energy providers that can help these communities meet both short- and long-term energy goals.
On August 23, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $455,000 in grants to seven early-stage researchers and companies developing clean energy technologies as part of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Catalyst program.
On June 22, 2017 the Baker-Polito Administration announced $960,000 in grants for STEM and clean energy learning programs for six Massachusetts high schools to help direct students towards STEM higher education majors and careers. The Lean and Earn program grants were awarded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and amount to $160,000 per school. Following the announcement, Governor Charlie Baker affirmed that his administration “is committed to providing new pathways for Massachusetts’ students to explore opportunities in STEM-related fields. Encouraging students to pursue studying clean energy and STEM subjects will strengthen our future workforce and further improve our nation-leading innovation economy.” Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Supports Clean Energy Education with $960,000 in STEM Learning Grants
The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced a set of six new programs seeking to increase affordable access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs in the Commonwealth. These new programs build upon the efforts of the Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy Working Group, which just released its Final Report, and mark the final component of the Administration’s $15 million Affordable Access to Clean and Efficient Energy (AACEE) Initiative. To learn more about these new programs, read on!
With President-Elect Donald Trump and his administration officially moving into the White House this Friday, the landscape of energy policy, investment, and incentives could see major changes in 2017. Given this backdrop, it seems like a good time to review some of the most important trends and policies concerning clean energy that we covered in 2016.
Here are 2016’s top 5 most popular blog posts at Energy Tech Matters: