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Baker-Polito Administration Awards $4 Million for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Upgrades at Water Treatment Facilities

Posted April 23, 2018 by

MASSDEP NEWS

WARE – April 19, 2018 – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $4 million in grants to 36 drinking water and wastewater facilities across the Commonwealth to help these facilities reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency and generate renewable energy. Awarded through the Gap Funding Grant Program, these grants will expedite implementation of previously assessed energy efficiency and clean energy generation projects at municipal treatment facilities. The program is designed to fill the last “gap” in project financing, enabling facilities to use utility incentives and funds from other sources to build or install selected energy efficiency and clean energy projects. The announcement was made by state environmental officials during an event in Ware as part of the Commonwealth’s celebration of Earth Week.

“As we celebrate Earth Week, our administration is proud to award funding that will  help communities across the Commonwealth provide safe, clean drinking water to their residents, protect our natural resources, and reduce the significant energy usage of local wastewater and drinking water treatment,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The innovative Gap Funding Grant Program provides the last funding communities need to complete vital energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will increase reliability, lower operating costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

“The Gap Funding Grant Program allows municipalities to use other sources of funding, including from electrical utilities, saving money for communities and local ratepayers,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to working with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to improve water quality programs that protect our waters and public health.”

Today’s awards are expected to leverage $1.3 million in additional energy utility incentives, leading to the installation of $17 million in clean energy improvement projects. These 36 projects, taken together, are projected to generate approximately 9.6 megawatt hours in annual electricity savings or onsite energy generation, sufficient to power 234 households, reduce carbon emissions by 3,015 tons, and result in savings of up to $1.3 million annually. All projects are expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2019.

“Massachusetts is a national leader when it comes to energy efficiency and development of renewable energy, and the Gap Funding Grant Program will help the Commonwealth maintain its status,” said EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. “These innovative grants provide a positive return on investment, not only for the facility involved, but also for the state and the energy utilities that have provided incentives.”

“The Gap Funding Grant Program allows facilities to make improvements to their treatment systems through the use of energy efficiency measures, enabling these facilities to provide cleaner water – and cleaner air – while reducing energy use,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Over time, these efficiency upgrades improve the facility’s operational reliability and cut the use of fossil fuels in plant operations, significantly reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.”

Energy use at wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities is a major contributor to overall energy consumption for many cities and towns, with communities statewide spending approximately $150 million per year on electricity to treat 662 billion gallons of wastewater and drinking water. About 30 percent of municipal energy use derives from water treatment.

“The Department of Energy Resources is proud to partner with municipalities on initiatives that reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency and generate renewable energy,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “This important work at water treatment facilities is critical to creating a clean energy future for the Commonwealth.”

“Massachusetts is home to a vibrant water innovation sector, and this funding will enable municipalities to tap into that resource by adopting technologies that improve energy efficiency,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “Gap funding will help these cities and towns overcome persistent funding challenges and provide cost savings to their residents.”

Gap funding grants have been awarded to:

Ayer – $46,785

Bernardston Fire and Water District – $200,000

Blackstone – $42,521

Brockton – $200,000

Charlemont Sewer District – $45,000

Chicopee – $200,000

Dartmouth – $107,057

Fairhaven – $23,924

Fitchburg – $135,162

Franklin – $79,380

Groton – $83,295

Hatfield – $200,000

Hull – $61,685

Kingston – $76,020

Lenox – $98,542

Lynnfield Water District – $79,443

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority – $81,027

Middleborough – $43,437

Milford – $13,380

Millbury – $155,385

Montague – $150,000

Nantucket – $200,000

North Carver Water District – $58,230

Orange – $200,000

Paxton – $22,814

Rockport – $81,081

Shrewsbury – $200,000

South Essex Sewage District (Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody and Salem) – $200,000

Southwick – $40,546

Taunton – $35,500

Uxbridge – $168,613

Wareham – $200,000

Webster – $26,351

Westfield – $39,424

Worcester – $200,000

“Towns continue to find ways to provide needed services within budget constraints,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “This program will assist in providing funds for necessary projects associated with public health, water and sewer upgrades combined with opportunities to reduce emissions through green and renewable technology.”

“I am proud of Lenox for receiving this grant,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “It will go a long way in reducing energy cost and fossil fuel use, while improving water quality for the people of my hometown. Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and Commissioner Suuberg at MassDEP for this GAP II funding.”

“I applaud the Baker-Polito Administration, Secretary Beaton and Commissioner Suuberg’s commitment to efficient and environmentally conscious energy practices here in the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury). “The gap funding grant program provides an invaluable partnership between the state and municipalities in order to reduce energy use, generate renewable energy and increase energy efficiency. I am incredibly pleased that Shrewsbury will be able to install a new 60 kW solar photovoltaic system at the new Home Farm Water Treatment Plant with the $200,000 in awarded funding announced today.”

“Congratulations to the Town of Ware for their commitment to implementing green technologies to reduce costs and improve our water treatment systems,” said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). “I would like to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued commitment to clean energy.”

“Finding ways to achieve our clean energy goals continues to be a priority for our Commonwealth,” said State Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), who formerly served as an Environmental Police Officer. “Congratulations to each of the water treatment facilities awarded grant funding. These investments generate significant savings over the long-term, and reflect our commitment to the environment and future generations.”

“A top priority for the Town of Ware is to reduce our carbon footprint one upgrade at a time,” said Ware Director of Public Works Dick Kilhart. “In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, the cumulative energy savings associated with this project allows the town to reallocate those financial resources and continue to upgrade the 125-year-old sewer collection system and the 55-year-old wastewater treatment plant. We want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for providing this Gap II funding.”

“Massachusetts is a clear leader in offering innovative funding mechanisms for energy efficiency at water utilities,” said Adam Carpenter, AWWA’s energy and environmental policy manager.  “We would love to see many more states and electric utilities work with the water sector on efficiency and renewables.”

The funding for the second round of Gap funding grants is made available by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) through Alternative Compliance Payments from retail electricity suppliers. More information on the gap funding grant program can be found here.

Building on the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to increasing energy efficiency, Governor Baker recently filed legislation which would require that a home energy scorecard, energy rating, and information on recommended energy efficiency improvements be provided to homeowners as part of free residential energy efficiency assessments, and after January 1, 2021, would require that home energy performance ratings be made available to potential homebuyers when one to four unit family homes are publicly listed for sale.

Additionally, Governor Baker recently filed legislation to authorize over $1.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and investing in communities.  Under the legislation, DOER would be directed to create a new clean peak standard for electricity suppliers to increase the usage of clean energy during periods of high, carbon intensive, and expensive electricity demand.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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Contact: Edmund Coletta (617.292.5737)

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