Renewables Grants Help Groups Co-operate to Cut Costs

The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust has approved up to US$850,000 in funding for nine projects that will increase consumer demand for electricity generated from wind, solar and other renewable resources.

BOSTON, Massachusetts, US, 2001-10-16 [SolarAccess.com] The awards are the first approvals for grants under the $1.5 million ‘Consumer Aggregation’ program started this year by MRET. By joining an aggregation, Massachusetts ratepayers can collectively purchase electricity that is generated from renewable energy resources and technologies. Aggregations lower costs for consumers and create markets for companies that sell electricity from renewables. Under this solicitation, not-for-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible to apply for the grants. The proposals selected by the Trust to receive grants will aggregate electric customers within a specific geographic region or customer class. “This initiative will allow grant recipients to use the collective buying power of a consumer aggregation to ensure that a portion of the electricity they use is generated from renewable resources,” explains Greg Watson of MRET. One of the grants will develop a policy and framework for the marketing of renewable energy and green power within the Cape Light Compact, an intergovernmental body consisting of 21 towns and two counties in the Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard region. Another grant will aggregate health and educational facilities for the purchase of green power under MHI, a non-profit group-purchasing subsidiary of the Massachusetts Health & Education Facilities Authority. Another grant will be used to build a 1,000-member aggregation to buy a two-year supply of GreenE certified 100 percent green electricity product for Co-opPlus, a new citizen-owned energy cooperative serving western Massachusetts. A grant will to the Massachusetts Municipal Association will educate municipal officials in its member communities about green power and assess interest in purchasing green power for municipal electric loads. The City of Newtown, which has committed to installing 500 solar systems by 2010, will receive a grant to bring together individuals and businesses to install PV and solar water heating systems on a group purchasing basis. The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust was established by the State Legislature in 1997 to promote the development and use of renewable energy. During its first phase of operation, the Trust has earmarked $47 million in grants, loans, and other financial support for renewable energy projects and programs through fiscal 2002.

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