Communities throughout Massachusetts are increasingly turning to renewable energy – not only because of the environment-saving benefits, but because residents can save on energy bills, too.
Massachusetts regulations require that at least 12 percent of the statewide energy portfolio be composed of renewable energy. By participating in municipal energy aggregation programs, many Massachusetts communities are topping that number. Melrose, a town about nine miles north of Boston, plans on generating at least 17 percent of its energy through renewable sources.
Melrose and Dedham are two communities currently using a municipal energy aggregation program to help increase their use of renewable energy. Eight other Massachusetts towns have similar programs in development, which mandate renewable energy use above the state-required 12 percent level. These towns include Arlington, Brookline, Gloucester, Hamilton, Millis, Somerville, Sudbury, and Winchester. The town of Brookline has even committed to increasing renewable energy use to 25 percent above the state level.
In addition to creating a municipal aggregation plan that relies more on renewable energy, the program has also helped save money on their electric bills. In the first year of the program residents saved $200,000, an average of $23 per household. Good Energy helps negotiate such lower rates for Massachusetts communities that are part of municipal energy aggregation programs.
“Renewable energy has been an increasing emphasis for Massachusetts communities,” says Philip Carr, Good Energy’s New England Regional Director. “With our expertise, we’re able to help these communities find ways to include more renewable energy options and help residents and businesses save money.”
More and more Massachusetts communities are expected to sign on with municipal aggregation programs and include renewable energy stipulations into their plans, similar to Melrose. These municipal aggregation programs allow residents to select from state minimum renewable energy levels to up to 100 percent from renewable sources.
And because of these communities’ increased interest in renewable energy, the state is examining the possibility of building 17 new 1-megawatt wind turbines.