AMESBURY – A yearlong push to go green in Amesbury has paid off, as the state Department of Energy Resources announced yesterday that it has officially designated Amesbury as a Green Community.
The city will receive a $173,775 grant to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects as a reward for achieving Green Community designation, and going forward the city will become eligible for up to $10 million in grants for future green-energy projects.
Amesbury was one of 13 communities to earn Green Community status in the latest round of designations and is now among the 123 Green Communities across the state, joining Newburyport and West Newbury. In order to take advantage of the grant funds, Mayor Thatcher Kezer said the city now has to submit a project application to the DOER by late January proposing how the funds will be used.
“Amesbury has earned recognition as an energy leader in Massachusetts through this designation and I am proud to see our commitment to improving energy efficiency and reducing our municipal energy costs rewarded,” Mayor Thatcher Kezer said in a release announcing the grant. “The Green Community designation has been a community priority for over a year, and could not have been achieved without the hard work of the City Council, the Energy Task Force, Peregrine Energy Group, and numerous city staff members.”
In order to become recognized as a Green Community, Amesbury was required to meet five criteria laid out by the state, which were: provide zoning for renewable energy generating, R&D or manufacturing facilities; adopt an expedited permit process for those facilities; develop a plan to reduce energy use by 20 percent within five years; purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles; and adopt the state’s Stretch Code.
City officials have made meeting these criteria a top priority over this past legislative session, particularly Councilor Christian Scorzoni, who was one of the primary supporters of the Stretch Code proposal and who has been a consistent advocate of renewable energy in general.
“This designation is an important milestone for Amesbury,” Scorzoni said. “With these funds, we will be reducing energy usage in town while developing innovative renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that will create jobs and help brand our town’s commitment to sustainability. I’m thrilled to see that this day has arrived.”
Kezer said a future celebration of the Green Community designation would be scheduled in the future, and during that event, the city will be presented with its official certificate of designation and with Green Community signs to display around town.
The other communities to be designated Green Communities along with Amesbury were Acushnet, Ashby, Blackstone, Concord, Framingham, Longmeadow, Lunenburg, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Plympton, Westford, and Williamsburg.
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