In December 2015, the Town earned designation as a Green Community through the Commonwealth's Green Communities Designation and Grant Program. This accomplishment came after more than a year of planning by the Town's Energy Advisory Committee to meet the following criteria for Green Community designation:
In 2015, there were 155 cities and towns designated as Green Communities, representing 54% of all Massachusetts residents. All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20% over five years. In 2015, this commitment amounted to savings of 2,153,992 MMBtu, the energy-use equivalent of heating and powering nearly 17,000 homes, and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 203,538 tons, the equivalent of taking almost 39,000 cars off the road.
Designation and Competitive Grants
As energy leaders in Massachusetts, Green Communities are eligible for funding through an initial designation grant and annual competitive grants. These grants provide financial support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further a Green Community’s clean energy goals.
- Designation Grants are based on a $125,000 base award for each designated Green Community, plus additional funding tied to per capita income and population.
- Competitive Grants are offered annually to Green Communities that have successfully invested their initial designation grants, as well as any previous competitive grants.
Funding for Green Communities grants is available through proceeds from carbon allowance auctions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and Alternative Compliance Payments (ACPs) paid by retail electric suppliers that do not meet their Renewable Portfolio Standard compliance obligations through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.
Energy Reduction Plan
An Energy Reduction Plan (ERP) is a blueprint for reducing municipal energy consumption. Under the Massachusetts Green Communities Act, an ERP must do the following to qualify for designation:
- Establish a baseline for energy consumption based on all municipal- and school-owned vehicles, buildings, facilities, street lights, and traffic lights.
- Prioritize actions that will reduce municipal energy consumption by 20 percent after five years of implementation.
The Town of Weymouth's ERP was adopted in October 2015. This plan identifies 53 projects and strategies for reducing municipal energy consumption by 24,283 MMBTu, the energy-use equivalent of heating and powering nearly 190 homes. This reduction is projected to save the Town approximately $477,000 per year in energy costs.