Freedom Energy Newsletter | June 2024

Massachusetts Municipalities: Grant Opportunities in the Energy Space

Massachusetts is committed to promoting clean energy and sustainability through various grant programs available to municipalities. These grants support projects that reduce energy costs, enhance efficiency, and contribute to emission reduction goals.

Gap III Energy Grant Program (2023 Review)

In 2023, the Gap III Energy Grant Program was administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), with project completion expected in 2024. In a continuing effort to support a more sustainable Commonwealth, $8.1 million in grants were awarded through the Gap Energy Grant Program providing financial assistance to help water facilities, non-profits and small businesses reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency, and generate renewable energy.

Eligible entities included municipal water utilities, nonprofit multifamily affordable housing organizations, nonprofit agricultural food producers, and small businesses engaged in food distribution and processing. Grants were awarded up to $200,000, and supported initiatives such as solar installations, energy-efficient lighting, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) upgrades. For information about participating communities, see the press release announcing the 62 organizations and Municipal Facilities program recipients.

Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Application Available

The EECBG municipal sub grant Program Opportunity Notice is posted on Commbuys along with the links to applications.

Funded through the U.S. DOE (Department of Energy) from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this grant is offered only to municipalities with populations under 35,000. Funds are being made available to support reducing fossil fuel emissions, reducing total energy use in communities, improving efficiency of facilities, and contributing to the clean energy economy’s growth.

The DOER (Department of Energy Resources) is offering competitive sub grants to eligible municipalities up to $75,000 for public building envelope projects and up to $50,000 for the following type of activities:

  • Community-based and project-based clean energy planning
  • Clean energy community campaigns
  • Energy manager seed funds
  • Engineering and design for building decarbonization

Applications are located here and are due to DOER by August 16, 2024. Cities and towns with populations over 35,000 will receive a direct allocation from DOE. Visit the EECBG program hub for more information and application materials.

Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) Grants (2023 Review)

The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) offered META Grants to municipalities, regional school districts, and water/wastewater districts. These grants help with technical assistance for energy projects and studies. Whether for a solar project, exploring energy storage options, or assessing the feasibility of electric vehicle charging stations, META Grants provide the necessary expertise.

The Municipal Energy Technical Assistance Grants enable communities to move forward on diverse local energy projects. In March 2024, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced over $268,000 in grants to cities and towns across Massachusetts to develop clean energy projects. The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) awarded 17 Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) grants to municipalities, regional school districts, and water/wastewater districts to aid in the management of projects or the performance of studies to support the development of energy projects. These grants were available to all Massachusetts municipalities, including those without a Green Community designation. For more information about the communities currently participating in grants, see the press release from March 2024.

Energy Future Planning Grants

The Office of State and Community Energy Program (SCEP) provides Energy Future Planning Grants to local, state, and tribal governments. These grants support the development and implementation of innovative energy plans. Whether you are focused on transportation, the power sector, or building efficiency, these grants can help you create a roadmap for a sustainable energy future. The MA SCEP programs and project map is available here.

Green Communities Designation – Grants for Green Communities

In addition to the specific grant programs mentioned above, Massachusetts municipalities can become designated Green Communities and qualify for grants. To date, the Green Community Designation and Grant Program have designated 291 of the cities and towns across Massachusetts as Green Communities, and of those,187 are also considered environmental justice communities.

To achieve a Green Community Designation, a municipality must pledge to reduce municipal energy use by 20% over 5 years and meet four other criteria established in the Green Communities Act. Once designated, Green Communities qualify for grants of up to $250,000 per municipality to finance additional energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will accept Green Communities Designation Applications by June 21,2024 and December 31, 2024. Once a municipality demonstrates that it meets the Five Designation Criteria, it is eligible for grants to support clean energy projects on municipally owned properties.

Massachusetts municipalities have a wealth of grant opportunities in the energy space. Whether you are looking to upgrade municipal buildings, invest in renewable energy, or develop comprehensive energy plans, these grants can help you take meaningful steps toward a more sustainable and resilient future.

Building Retrofit Seed Funds Offered

The Building Electrification Accelerator (BEA) is offering two $5,000-$10,000 seed grants, along with facilitation support, to local teams focused on advancing building retrofits in environmental justice communities in Massachusetts. The BEA supports local programs and policies to weatherize and electrify buildings in Massachusetts.

For each grant, a local team will design or implement a community-led building retrofit initiative. Program outcomes will be determined by the local teams but may include increased community awareness of the benefits of building retrofits and available resources, work with municipal officials to undertake building retrofit and/or workforce development programs, and/or direct program results.

Download the Request for Proposals. Learn more about BEA. Application deadline is Friday, June 28, 2024, by 5:00 pm.

Upcoming Grant Opportunities

Freedom Energy is always on the lookout for additional grant and rebate opportunities to advocate for our clients. Stay tuned. We’ll continue to highlight opportunities as more become available.

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Meet the Writer

Brian White
Freedom Energy Logistics
Municipal Program Director

Brian White brings two decades of experience to his role as Municipal Program Director at Freedom Energy. He advises and assists communities throughout the Northeast in optimizing their energy spend and achieving sustainability goals. Brian collaborates with cities and towns to meet their energy requirements and renewable objectives, leveraging existing relationships, and establishing new ones within the municipal community. Click here to read Brain’s full bio.

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