Skip to Content
July 21, 2024 Clouds | 72°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 10: Division of green communities; duties of director; program; qualification as a green community; funding; rules; annual report

Section 10. (a) The division of green communities shall assist the commonwealth's municipalities and other local governmental bodies to: reduce energy consumption and costs, reduce pollution, facilitate the development of renewable and alternative energy resources, and create local jobs related to the building of renewable and alternative energy facilities and the installation of energy-efficient equipment. The director of the division shall be responsible for the administration and oversight of the green communities program and shall apply and disburse monies and revenues as provided in this section.

(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 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; 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.

(c) To qualify as a green community, a municipality or other local governmental body shall: (1) file an application with the division in a form and manner to be prescribed by the division; (2) provide for the as-of-right siting of renewable or alternative energy generating facilities, renewable or alternative energy research and development facilities, or renewable or alternative energy manufacturing facilities in designated locations; (3) adopt an expedited application and permitting process under which these energy facilities may be sited within the municipality and which shall not exceed 1 year from the date of initial application to the date of final approval; (4) establish an energy use baseline inventory for municipal buildings, vehicles and street and traffic lighting, and put in place a comprehensive program designed to reduce this baseline by 20 per cent within 5 years of initial participation in the program; (5) purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and (6) require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to minimize, to the extent feasible, the life-cycle cost of the facility by utilizing energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies. 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 communities program as effectively as adherence to the requirements.

(d) Funding for the green communities program in any single fiscal year shall be available, without the need for further appropriation, in a total amount of not more than $20,000,000 from: (1) monies generated by all cap and trade pollution control programs, including, but not limited to, the cap and trade program established under the NOx Allowance Trading Program and the carbon dioxide allowance trading mechanism established under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as defined in subsection (a) of section 22 of chapter 164; (2) such amounts as may be directed to municipalities or other governmental bodies under section 19 of chapter 25; (3) amounts from alternative compliance payments established and administered under 225 CMR 14.00 adopted under section 11F; and (4) other funds as the governing board of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund established under section 9 of chapter 23J, may provide.

(e) The division shall adopt rules, regulations and guidelines for the administration and enforcement of this section, including, but not limited to, establishing applicant criteria, funding priority, application forms and procedures, and energy efficiency product requirements. The division shall also adopt regulations providing for a separate green communities program for those communities served by municipal lighting plants that have chosen to adopt the renewable energy charge under section 20 of chapter 25. In adopting such regulations, the division shall require that a municipality served by a municipal light plant that serves multiple municipalities shall be permitted to qualify as a green community if the municipality has chosen to adopt the renewable energy charge pursuant to subsection (c) of section 20 of chapter 25.

(f) The division shall annually, not later than April 1, submit a report to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy, the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight, and the senate and house committees on ways and means detailing the expenditures and results relative to the green communities program.