The Mass. House of Representatives voted 158 to 0 to pass legislation investing $1.3 billion to help cities and towns across Massachusetts fund infrastructure projects aimed at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation establishes a $1 billion, 10-year grant program – known as GreenWorks – to fund clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate change resiliency measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions, fortify infrastructure and reduce municipal costs. The legislation also invests $325 million in other municipal green projects.
“GreenWorks builds on a long-standing House approach to provide concrete tools directly to cities and towns that result in both immediate and long-lasting positive effects,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, (D – Winthrop). “This forward-looking investment helps Massachusetts cities and towns build resilient communities, lower long-term operating costs and cut greenhouse gases while creating jobs for workers across the Commonwealth.”
Modeled after the state’s MassWorks program, GreenWorks funds projects that improve climate preparedness and resiliency, promote or produce clean energy or energy efficiency, build energy storage facilities, implement measures included in Massachusetts’ statewide climate adaptation strategy or otherwise help mitigate the impacts of climate change or reduce carbon emissions.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will accept applications annually and administer the program, which is funded through the issuance of bonds. In addition, the legislation makes targeted investments of $325 million in energy infrastructure, including:
- $100 million for investments in municipal microgrid energy systems
- $125 million for electric vehicles in municipal or regional transit authority fleets
- $20 million for the hiring of sustainability coordinators to develop and manage municipal projects resulting for the GreenWorks program
- $50 million to establish the Green Resiliency Fund to offer low-interest loans for municipalities when pursuing GreenWorks projects
- $30 million for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ MOR-EV electric vehicle rebate program
The bill will now go to the Senate.