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Towns to be part of pilot energy efficiency, renewable energy program  

Credit:  By Robert Gates Hamilton - Wenham Patch | February 25, 2013 | hamilton-wenham.patch.com ~~

The towns of Hamilton and Wenham will be taking part in a $500,000 pilot program to help identify energy efficiency, renewable energy and other clean energy strategies.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and state Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Division announced last week that six municipal governments and regional planning authorities will participate in the program.

Hamilton Town Manager Michael Lombardo said the towns are working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council on the project and are awaiting additional details about exactly how the grant will be allocated.

Molly Martins, chairwoman of the Wenham Board of Selectmen, said in the announcement that Wenham is proud to be “developing sustainable clean energy strategies that meet our needs at the local level.”

Some of the options could range from installing high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment to insulating wind turbines and solar electricity systems.

The goal is to provides the towns “with a menu of clean energy options depending on their needs and resources,” the announcement stated.

“This grant award will help us move this important agenda forward and it will provide the technical expertise needed to harness new clean energy programs with solid results.”

The grant was awarded to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and also includes Salem and Swampscott in addition to Hamilton and Wenham. The grant went to municipalities designated as a Green Community.

“We look forward to working with these communities as they work to expand their clean energy portfolio and reduce their environmental impacts,” Commissioner Mark Sylvia said in the written announcement about the grant award.

The Community Energy Strategies Pilot Program will provide technical and financial assistance to the towns to help identify, prioritize and enable a mix of clean energy options to “address local interests, needs, resources and opportunities for clean energy development,” according to an announcement from state and local government officials.

The grant will provide the technical and financial support to “take full advantage of local clean energy opportunities,” said state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan.

In addition to the two towns, the grant also went to Northampton, Watertown, Newburyport, Greenfield, Montague, Buckland, Shelburne, Amherst, Hadley, Holyoke, Easthampton and East Longmeadow.

“Each community is unique,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Alicia Barton in the program announcement. “Renewable energy projects that work for one community may not work for another, and this program will help these communities find the best projects to fit their cities and towns.”

Source:  By Robert Gates Hamilton - Wenham Patch | February 25, 2013 | hamilton-wenham.patch.com

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