“Greening” Communities Across the Cape and Vineyard
Since 2017, Cape Light Compact has supported towns along Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard with securing resources made available through the Massachusetts Green Communities Designation and Grant Program. This program, operated by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MassDOER), connects qualifying municipalities with educational, financial, and technical support to pursue energy efficiency and clean energy projects. The Compact is proud to announce that, just this past May, three additional towns – Orleans, Harwich, and Yarmouth – received Green Community designation.
What does this title mean, and what benefits do municipalities gain from being involved in the Green Community Program? To earn Green Community designation, a municipality must meet five criteria; together these criteria demonstrate a commitment to advancing renewable energy development, reducing energy use, expanding the use of fuel-efficient vehicles, and minimizing the life-cycle cost of new homes and buildings. Once a municipality earns Green Community designation, it receives access to funding and technical guidance designed to accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
The Compact has played a key, and continually-evolving, role in helping interested towns across the Cape and Vineyard become involved in this program. More specifically, through receipt of the Regional Energy Planning Assistance Grant, the Compact has been able to provide the following support:
- For the six towns that were already Green Communities prior to 2018, the Compact has assisted with gathering and analyzing energy data, complying with annual reporting requirements, and applying for grants. These towns include Mashpee, Provincetown, Tisbury, Truro, Wellfleet, and West Tisbury.
- In 2018, the Compact aided three towns – Harwich, Orleans, and Yarmouth – with applying for Green Community designation. With these towns having been successfully awarded this title in spring 2019, the Compact looks forward to transitioning to providing the same support it has for other existing Green Communities.
- Although awaiting the award of the 2019-2020 Regional Energy Planning Assistance Grant, the Compact anticipates supporting additional interested communities with applications to secure Green Community designation. Currently, seven communities have displayed interest, including Aquinnah, Brewster, Chatham, Chilmark, Dennis, Edgartown, and Nantucket.
- Finally, for towns, such as Eastham, that are seeking support with clean energy project planning and management but are not yet working toward Green Community designation, the Compact is also looking to fill this role.
In alignment with its mission to serve as a trusted, local energy resource, the Compact has enjoyed working with communities across the Cape and Vineyard to facilitate their involvement in the Green Communities Program. The Compact recognizes the importance of this program in advancing energy efficiency and clean energy projects, in turn helping towns create more economically and environmentally sustainable communities. In the coming years, the Compact looks forward to continuing this work with local towns and MassDOER.
To learn more about the Compact’s efforts to help towns save energy and money, visit CapeLightCompact.org/municipal.
*From left to right, individuals pictured in photo are: State Rep Will Crocker, DOER Commissioner Judith Judson, Yarmouth Town Administrator Daniel Knapik, State Senator Julian Cyr, Green Communities Director Nick Connors, Yarmouth Building Commissioner Mark Grylls, and Yarmouth DPW Director Jeff Colby.