Clean Energy Planning
The Merrimack Valley Clean Energy Action Plan (link to PDF 9/6/12)] was developed to address the economic development vision charted during the update of the Merrimack Valley Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) in 2008. At that time a diverse group of 30 community leaders asked themselves “what are the challenges to economic growth and what can we do to best prepare us for the new realities of the 21st Century?” Prominently mentioned as part of the economic development vision for the Merrimack Valley was the need to identify and support the Region’s growth areas and in particular the energy needs of the communities.
The CEDS action plan encouraged:
- The Municipalities in the Region to develop plans to reduce the region’s carbon footprint
- The creation of bylaws/ordinances to guide the development of alternative energy facilities, and
- The Municipalities to pursue renewable energy projects.
It identifies the energy challenges the communities in the region face. It provides resources and suggestions on how to make the valley truly “Green”. It develops an energy strategy for each community in the region. And it creates an action plan on how the communities can work together to advance their individual strategies.
As the communities move forward to implement this strategy the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission will provide the forum for collaboration, administrative support for implementation and the focus to ensure success.
This effort recognized with an Innovation Award by the National Association of Development Organizations.
The Green Communities Act of 2008 aims to increase energy efficiency across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Primarily, it aims to reduce energy demands in municipalities through the implementation of energy efficiency policies including renewable energy siting, research and development, and manufacturing, and energy efficiency improvements to existing municipally owned infrastructure such as town buildings, vehicles, and facilities. To become a Green Community a municipality must pledge to cut municipal energy use by an ambitious and achievable goal of 20 percent over 5 years and meet four other criteria established in the Green Communities Act.
How MVPC Can Help
MVPC is available to assist Merrimack Valley Communities with the Green Communities Designation process and Grant Program including:
Green Communities Designation Support including:
- Bylaw review and development (Criterion 1)
- Baseline energy data collection and set up in Mass Energy Insight (Criterion 2)
- Development of a 5-year Energy Reduction Plan (Criterion 3)
- Drafting a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Policy and assistance with Vehicle Inventory (Criterion 4)
Support for Existing Green Communities
- Assist with grant application preparation
- Assist with procurement activities for approved grant funded projects
- Assist with Annual Report preparation
Communities interested in starting the designation process should first contact their Regional Green Communities Coordinator at MassDOER.
Planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency measures, innovative energy technology products, and the use of renewable sources.