Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today joined Newton Mayor Setti Warren at Newton City Hall to celebrate the city's new municipal contract, which calls for the city to source 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources. Newton was one of the first communities designated a "Green Community" after Governor Deval Patrick signed the Green Communities Act in 2008.
"We have developed a nation-leading clean energy agenda because it is the right thing to do for our environment, our energy independence and our public health," said Governor Patrick. "I applaud Newton for setting an example for communities across the state."
Last week, Mayor Warren signed a contract requiring 100 percent of municipal and school department electricity needs -- equal to 70 million kilowatt hours over the next three years -- come from renewable sources starting on July 1, 2012. The initiative will save the city over $300,000 over the next three years.
"Governor Patrick and I congratulate the City of Newton for once again being a leader in clean energy," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "As one of the Commonwealth's first designated Green Communities, Newton's decision to power 100 percent of its electricity needs with "green' and renewable power is another pioneering move that supports our Administration's clean energy goals and provides a model for other Massachusetts communities to emulate."
"More and more Massachusetts communities want to become clean energy leaders, helping us to cut energy use, stabilize energy costs and protect our environment," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Sullivan. "We're here today to celebrate the City of Newton's leadership in driving the Massachusetts clean energy revolution."
"Today's announcement demonstrates that Newton is leading the Commonwealth with a comprehensive energy initiative that will move the green economy forward," said Mayor Warren. "We are proud to be the first community in Massachusetts to procure 100 percent of the city's electricity from green and renewable sources. Not only will this reduce our carbon footprint, but it stands to save the city over $300,000 over the next three years."
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's 2011 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report showed a 6.7 percent growth in Massachusetts clean energy jobs between July 2010 and July 2011, with companies projecting continued growth in the year ahead. The report found nearly 5,000 companies engaged in clean energy work and employing over 64,000 clean energy workers.
The job growth is attributed to the Patrick-Murray Administration's ambitious clean energy agenda, including the Green Communities program and the Global Warming Solutions Act. Under the Global Warming Solutions Act, Massachusetts has set the strongest greenhouse gas reduction targets in the nation -- 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
There are 86 Massachusetts Green Communities -- including Newton -- which have already committed to reduce their municipal energy consumption by 20 percent as part of the Green Communities program. This commitment collectively equates to the annual energy consumption of more than 13,000 Massachusetts homes and the greenhouse gases from more than 16,800 cars. Today, 42 percent of Massachusetts residents or 2.7 million live in Green Communities.