BOSTON– Monday, April 7, 2008 – Governor Deval Patrick today made two announcements relative to renewable energy in Massachusetts – a second phase of expansion by Marlboro-based Evergreen Solar at its manufacturing facility in Devens, and a year’s worth of progress with state agencies adopting renewable energy under the Governor’s “Leading By Example” Executive Order.
At a ceremony held at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Deer Island wastewater treatment facility, Governor Patrick congratulated MWRA for its leadership on renewable energy, as demonstrated by the just-completed installation of a 100-kW array of solar panels – made by Evergreen Solar – and by its plans, announced for the first time today, to erect two 190-foot wind turbines at Deer Island as well.
“MWRA has been superlative in its efforts to use clean, renewable energy in its operations,” said Governor Patrick. “With solar panels today, and wind turbines tomorrow – for all to see, as people fly in and out of Logan Airport – MWRA is truly leading by example as we create a clean energy economy for Massachusetts.”
Evergreen Solar CEO Richard Feldt joined Governor Patrick at the event, and announced that his company will double the size of the manufacturing plant it has under construction in Devens, adding another 350 jobs. Evergreen chose Massachusetts for its first full-scale U.S. manufacturing facility over several other competing locations last year, due in part to a $44 million state financing package and Governor Patrick’s pledge to increase the amount of solar power installed statewide from 4 MW at that time to 250 MW by 2017.
As part of that commitment, the state launched Commonwealth Solar, a rebate program launched in January to help lower the cost of purchasing and installing solar electric power. The first Commonwealth Solar-supported installation was completed just one month later, and 43 applications have been accepted to date, for a total of 260 kW of solar capacity. Backed by $68 million in existing renewable energy funds, the goal of Commonwealth Solar is installation of 27 MW of generating capacity over four years.
“With this expansion, we will have approximately 1,000 employees in Massachusetts in 2009 – triple our employee base today – and we will be one of the leading ‘green’ employers in the Commonwealth,” said Feldt. “The vision for broad scale solar adoption, through Governor Patrick’s innovative Commonwealth Solar incentive program plan for clean energy jobs as well as the financial incentive package that the Governor the Legislature provided Evergreen, were key to our decision to put our first major manufacturing facility in Massachusetts.”
“Evergreen Solar is at the leading edge of our clean energy economy in Massachusetts,” said Governor Patrick. “The expansion announced today demonstrates what we can accomplish when the Commonwealth works with industry leaders to create markets, jobs, and opportunities in clean energy technology, for the benefit of our economy and our environment.”
“Massachusetts is making tremendous progress on solar, building both solar projects and solar jobs,” said Paul Gromer, executive director of the Solar Energy Business Association of New England. “By putting solar on state buildings, the Commonwealth is setting an example for every building owner in Massachusetts to follow. And, with the recently announced Commonwealth Solar program, the state is providing the resources we need to follow that example. Thanks to Governor Patrick’s support, solar is providing clean energy and green jobs for Massachusetts.”
The Deer Island solar and wind projects come in response to Governor Patrick’s Executive Order 484, “Leading By Example – Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings,” issued April 18, 2007. That Executive Order sets ambitious standards for reduction of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by state agencies, as well as increased use of renewable power – 15 percent of state government energy use by 2015, 30 percent by 2020.
The solar installation at Deer Island is one of 12 solar projects under way at state and community college campuses, the Soldiers Home in Chelsea, and Department of Correction facilities – all to be completed this summer. These projects alone will total a 20-percent increase in solar capacity statewide since January.
The Federal Aviation Administration gave preliminary approval for the two wind turbines on Deer Island March 7, issuing a determination of “no hazard to air navigation,” which becomes final April 16 following a public comment period. MWRA will seek similar FAA determinations to allow three more turbines at Deer Island after the construction of these two windmills by late 2009. Solar panels will save MWRA an estimated $10,500 in annual electricity purchases, while the two wind turbines will save the authority an estimated $106,000 a year.
Other wind projects are in the works at state agencies, including Cape Cod Community College, Mount Wachusett Community College, the state prison at Gardner, and the Plymouth County House of Correction. In addition, a meterological tower has been erected near the Blandford rest area on the Massachusetts Turnpike to gather data for a potential set of wind turbines at the Turnpike’s highest elevation.
This activity is part of the commitment to clean and renewable energy shared by Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. A comprehensive energy reform bill, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, has passed both houses of the Legislature and is now in conference committee. An Advanced Biofuels Task Force appointed by the three leaders is due to release its final report and recommendations in the coming weeks, supplementing their jointly backed biofuels bill now pending in the Legislature.
“Governor Patrick’s announcements today accelerate the momentum of the clean energy cluster in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, who serves as chairman of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority board of directors. “This is a shared priority for Governor Patrick, Speaker DiMasi, and Senate President Murray and the pending energy legislation will further build that momentum. That legislation will not only cut energy costs, but also make dramatic reforms to the energy market that clear the path for robust growth in both renewable energy installations and clean energy jobs in Massachusetts.”