SECTION 1. Chapter 25A of the General Laws is hereby amended in section 10 by striking subsection (b) in its entirety and inserting in place thereof the following new subsection:-
(b) The division shall establish a green communities program. The purpose of the program shall be to provide technical and financial assistance, in the form of grants and loans, to municipalities and other local governmental bodies that qualify as green communities and or green plus communities under this section. These loans and grants shall be used to finance all or a portion of the costs of studying, designing, constructing and implementing energy efficiency activities, including but not limited to, energy conservation measures and projects; procurement of energy management services; installation of energy management systems; adoption of demand side reduction initiatives; deployment of energy storage, microgrids, or district energy systems connected to renewable energy generation; installation of zero-emissions vehicles, charging equipment or infrastructure, or related technologies; coordination of residential or small business clean energy outreach, technical assistance, or financing programs; and the adoption of energy efficiency policies. They shall also be used to finance the siting and construction of renewable and alternative energy projects on municipally-owned land.
SECTION 2. Said section 10 is hereby further amended by inserting after subsection (c) the following new subsection:-
(c ½ ) To qualify as a green plus community, a municipality or other governmental body shall: (1) file an application with the division in a form and manner to be prescribed by the division; (2) establish an greenhouse gas emissions baseline inventory for residential, commercial and industrial buildings sited within the municipality, which may also include transportation and other sources of emissions within the municipality; (3) put in place a comprehensive program whose implementation begins within 1 year from the date of initial participation in the program, designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions baseline inventory by a percentage approved by the division that is not less than 20 per cent within 5 years of initial participation in the program; and (4) fulfill qualifications subsection 2 through 6 inclusive of the green community program as described in section (c). Preference shall be given to those municipalities that include additional sources of emissions within their greenhouse gas emissions baseline inventory. Not later than one year after the adoption of this section, the division shall adopt a tracking system for community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, to include but not be limited to the building, transportation, energy, and waste sectors that can be used by municipalities. The secretary may waive these requirements based on a written finding that due to unusual circumstances, a municipality cannot reasonably meet all of the requirements and the municipality has committed to alternative measures that advance the purposes of the green plus communities program as effectively as adherence to the requirements.
SECTION 3. Said section 10 is hereby further amended in subsection (d) by striking the figure “20,000,000” and inserting in place thereof “40,000,000 with not less than $10,000,000 going to green plus communities”.
SECTION 4. Said section 10 is hereby further amended in subsection (e) by inserting at the end the following sentence:--
“The division may also adopt regulations enabling those communities served by municipal lighting plants to participate in the green communities program through alternate means which shall include consideration of, but not be limited to, a funding match from municipal light plant on behalf of the served community.”
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