By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Region – On April 25, the Selectmen’s Room at Shrewsbury Town Hall was packed with delegations from six central Mass. communities when Lt. Governor Karyn Polito presented Green Communities designation grants, totaling $932,961, to Northborough, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Sturbridge, Westborough and Uxbridge.
“It’s a great day, it’s a beautiful day – but it’s also a great day to think about energy efficiency, renewable energy initiatives, climate change mitigation – things that are very important to all of us, all citizens of the world actually, but particularly citizens of Massachusetts,” stated Board of Selectmen Chair and Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources John Lebeaux.
The ceremony was in conjunction with Earth Week and the goal of the Designation Grant Program is to support communities’ investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
“Finally, the day has come when we have Shrewsbury and Westborough and so many other great communities in central Massachusetts here,” added Matthew A. Beaton, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary. “It’s not easy…It takes great leadership of all of you that are here to push it through and to make it happen.”
Beaton introduced Polito, who thanked him for his leadership on behalf of energy and the environment in the commonwealth.
“It is important to note that we are one of the top solar states,” Polito said. “I think I have a number here that is pretty powerful – two gigawatts of solar energy…It represents about 90,000 solar projects distributed across 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
“It is very telling of how sophisticated leadership is at the local level to be thinking and following through on these kinds of initiatives.”
Through reducing greenhouse emissions and diversifying the energy supply, she said that everyone can do something to save energy. Massachusetts continues to be number one in energy savings.
Two hundred and forty of the commonwealth’s municipalities have earned their Green Communities designation. Since the program began in 2010, the Department of Energy Resources Green Communities division has awarded over $100 million in grant funding to the commonwealth’s cities and towns
“Congratulations to every one of you, to the residents in your communities and thank you for taking on this effort because it will make a difference,” Polito said.
“The Green Communities program is an important partnership with cities and towns to help them find clean energy solutions that reduce long-term energy costs and strengthen local economies,” added Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson. “These grants represent another milestone for both the communities and the commonwealth as we continue to collaborate to meet our shared energy goals.”