Haverhill and Methuen were among the communities formally awarded state grants Friday to undertake energy conservation measures and clean energy projects.
As WHAV first reported in December, the cities have been designated as “Green Communities.” Haverhill was awarded $314,505, while Methuen received $268,640. The awards were presented by Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson during a ceremony at Haverhill Public Library.
“With 240 of the Commonwealth’s municipalities having earned their Green Communities designation, 78 percent of residents now live in a Green Community,” a statement reported. Since the program began in 2010, the energy division has awarded more than $100 million in grants to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.
Besides Haverhill and Methuen, the Baker-Polito administration gave Green Communities designation grants to Billerica, Boxford, Dracut and Merrimac.
“Cities and towns that participate in the Green Communities program have access to additional resources help facilitate investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects while reducing energy costs and carbon footprints,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.
Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding, including reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years.
Back in December, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the city worked on the application with help from the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission. Besides $300,000 for energy efficiency projects, the mayor said, there is potential for another $1 million over the next five years.
Grants are based on a starting amount of $125,000 plus an additional amount based on a community’s population and income.
As early as March of 2017, Councilor Colin F. LePage advocated for the green designation, having Joanne Bissetta, deputy director of the state Department of Energy Resources, address city councilors.
State Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Methuen state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, who also represents part of Haverhill, were among those attending the ceremony. DiZoglio declared, “The Merrimack Valley is home to some of the greenest communities in Massachusetts, so it is great to see Haverhill, Methuen and Merrimac receive Green Community designations and grants.” In a statement, she called, the Cities of Haverhill and Methuen “among the most forward-thinking cities in the Commonwealth when it comes to clean energy policy.”
Campbell said, “The Green Communities Grants created by the legislature provides communities the flexibility to achieve energy efficiencies immediately…The goals they have achieved thus far are exciting and bode well for the Commonwealth.”