Here’s a sampling of links about recent happenings with clean energy in Massachusetts – there is a LOT going on. Clicking any link will open a new window so you won’t lose your place.
- Fenway Park unveils solar panels on roof – The green at Fenway Park will no longer be limited to the grass, historic rafters, and 37-foot-high wall in left field. Enough solar thermal panels have been installed on the roof to provide 37 percent of the hot water needed at the 96-year-old park, reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 18 tons. The solar installation is actually part of two broader initiatives. City and federal officials announced Fenway plans to highlight Solar Boston, a $600,000 program aimed at increasing Boston’s solar energy output 50-fold by 2015. The Fenway solar installation is also part of a new MLB program, the Team Greening Program, which is MLB’s first league-wide eco-initiative and has teams all over the country starting green programs. The program provides each team with an individualized Team Greening Advisor, which is a Web-based software tool featuring advice and resources for every aspect of a club’s operations. For instance, the Sox are also making other changes, like switching the field’s lawn-mowers biodiesel and enlisting a group of 30-50 volunteers to collect recyclables between innings.
- NSTAR Green allows customers to buy wind energy – Earlier this month the state Department of Public Utilities approved a program that allows NSTAR customers to buy their electricity from wind farms in Maine and upstate New York. Customers who enroll in the NSTAR Green program will have to pay a premium on their monthly bill, $4 – $7 depending on whether you opt to buy half or all of your electricity from wind farms (although I don’t think many people are very excited by the idea of paying more for energy right now). National Grid has a similar program, GreenUp, and there are many other utility and non-utility options available. You can find out what your clean electricity options are based on your town by following this link to the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust. For the uninitiated, enrolling in a program like this has absolutely no effect on the reliability of your electricity service, and nothing changes in terms of the way electricity physically gets into your house. The only difference you will notice is the premium on your monthly bill.
- Massachusetts Green Jobs Act of 2008 – Last week, in an address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, House Speaker Sal DiMasi announced a new initiative directing millions of state dollars at growing the local alternative-energy sector. Dubbed the Green Jobs Act of 2008, the bill would allocate more than $50 million to the creation of new jobs and revenue in the state’s clean energy industry. The initiative is directly aimed at creating jobs in the clean-energy sector, particularly through start-ups, and is designed to “attract hundreds off millions of dollars in venture capital, create thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in new annual revenue for the commonwealth,” according to a statement by DiMasi’s office. On a related note, the clean energy industry in Massachusetts is already booming – supporting about 15,000 jobs – and is about to overtake textiles as the 10th largest employment cluster in Massachusetts, according to a “census” of the clean energy industry released last year by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC). Click the thumbnail image to enlarge the picture.
- Newton/Needham Chamber to present Green Business Solutions Expo – All over Newton and Needham, businesses are looking to go green, and for the first time, the Newton/Needham Chamber of Commerce will present an expo to help them learn to adapt to a new, environmentally conscious business climate. The chamber’s first-ever Green Business Solutions Expo will take place at the Newton Marriott Tuesday, June 3. Speakers will cover topics including recycling, organic lawn care, energy conservation, and how businesses can apply to receive government grants and rebates. Fifty-five exhibitors are expected. Chapman Construction and Designis going solar, and for Guy Compagnone, the company’s director of sustainable practices, the business decision is a no-brainer. “If you’re pioneering right now, you’re ahead of the curve. If you’re not, you’ll be far behind and have to catch up later. Straight up, there’s a reduced utility cost, much lower environmental impact and client attraction,” said Compagnone.