Green Communities

What is the Green Communities Act?



Green Communities Act


Video Source: YouTube/MassGovernor

On July 2, 2008 Governor Deval Patrick signed comprehensive landmark legislation to reduce energy consumption and spur clean energy technology. This law places Massachusetts nationally at the forefront of climate change reform. A leader in energy policy for years, the state participates in a regional effort to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants and has set a goal of increasing solar power in the Commonwealth by 600 percent in 4 years.
Among the major provisions is a requirement for utilities to invest in energy efficiency when it is less expensive than buying power. Previously companies purchased more power when demand increased. The construction of additional polluting power plants over time was the result. In addition, utilities will need to buy more electricity from renewable power sources. By 2030, 25% of this would be from renewables. The law also encourages the creation of green communities. A Green Communities Division within the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources will expend $10 million annually to assist cities and towns in finding ways to become more energy efficient or to invest in renewable energy. No-interest loans are one of the incentives.


Helpful Links:

Green Communities Act
About the Green Communities Division
Green Communities
Green Communities Grant
Municipal Light Plant Participation in the Renewable Energy Trust
Green Communities' Library

The criteria required before a city or town is designated a Green Community are outlined below.

Criterion #1: Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities

Criterion #2: Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities

Criterion #3: Establish benchmark for energy use and developed a plan to reduce baseline by 20 percent within 5 years

Criterion #4: Establish policy to purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles

Criterion #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

Source: Green Communities Grant

The Peabody per household charge/cost for participating in the Green Communities program are as follows:

The application process would not be a financial cost; it would only require time and effort.

The only financial cost would be a household charge that will go toward the State Renewable Energy Trust Fund; citizens would only be responsible for the projected cost of $4.50 each year. The projected annual renewable energy charge, based on PMLP’s last 12 month average per Peabody household’s monthly kWh usage, totals to 750 kWh (that includes the high peak months of 3000 kWh) which monetarily amounts to a monthly charge of $0.375 that ultimately equates to a yearly Peabody household renewable energy charge of $4.50, the price of one Grande Soy Latte from Starbucks or (if you don't frequent Starbucks) the price of one Happy Meal from McDonald's!

And what are the benefits to our city when we become a Green Community?


Russ Eckel, Chairman of Green Peabody

Source: PeabodyPatch/ Photo Credit: Andria Sousa

Once we are a qualified Green City we can:
Fund all or a portion of the costs of studying, designing, constructing and implementing energy efficiency activities, including but not limited to:

• Energy conservation measures and projects

• Procurement of energy management services (ESCO)

• Installation of energy management systems

• Adoption of demand side reduction initiatives

• Adoption of energy efficiency policies. Financing the sitting and construction of renewable and alternative energy projects on municipally-owned land

And beyond these benefits we believe that this will help attract and retain clean technology companies and green businesses. These parts of our economy are some of the fastest growing sectors in our State. Every month several thousand new jobs are created by businesses creating the technology, products and services for the post carbon economy. In the future, smart companies will be looking to locate in smart green communities where leaders understand that controlling and reducing the cost of energy will be the key to competitiveness in the years and decades to come.

Our state, our region and our City need to create good jobs especially for young people now learning and training for the new green economy. There is little doubt that going forward many of the best jobs in our State will be in clean technology and green economy. Any community that chooses to ignore the realities associated with economic growth today, namely the future price and availability of energy, is choosing to become irrelevant economically. The winners in our State and Region will be the Green Communities, economically speaking, while the losers will be those communities that ignore this reality or delay out of fear of what this might cost.

There are those in our community now who oppose this initiative or question its value. They fear change or exaggerate the cost of moving forward ignoring not only the immediate benefits but perhaps, more important, ignoring the long term cost to the community calculated by the loss of future private investment and good jobs for our citizens.

And what are the costs, so to speak, associated with becoming a Green Community? Well, the application process will take some time to set up. A successful application to the Division of Green Communities will take more than a day or two to prepare.

But more to the point because Peabody is served by a Municipal Light Plant.

What is your PRICE?

What is the Choice?

Russ Eckel, Chairman of Green Peabody