This week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) voted with her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass legislation investing $1.3 billion to help cities and towns across Massachusetts to 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.
“Ensuring that municipalities have access to funds for mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency is crucial as we combat climate change,” said Representative Meschino. “The investments GreenWorks makes in every town unlocks their potential to lead the way.”
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 to be 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, which passed the House unanimously, will now go to the Senate.