Mayor James J. Fiorentini > Press Release
May 21, 2008
Haverhill, Massachusetts Seeks Solar Power Award in Clean Energy Challenge Program
Mayor Kicks Off Clean Energy Drive
HAVERHILL– Mayor James Fiorentini and environmental leaders gathered today at the Dr. Paul Nettle Middle School to highlight the importance of clean, renewable energy in combating climate change and securing our energy future. The event kicks off the city's entry into the Clean Energy Choice Community Solar Challenge program sponsored by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust.
Under the Community Solar Challenge program, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's Renewable Energy Trust will award a $25,000 solar photovoltaic system to cities and towns that demonstrate a commitment to clean, renewable electric energy. To qualify, Haverhill must increase the number of households choosing clean electric power to 216 by June 30, 2008. If successful, the installation site for the bonus solar power system would be one of the city's school buildings.
Mike LaBonte, chairperson of the Haverhill Mayor's Energy Task Force, added that "it costs a few cents more per kilowatt-hour, an amount that can be offset with simple energy efficiency changes, such as installing compact fluorescent light bulbs."
According to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, 82 Haverhill households are currently purchasers of clean electric power, either through their electric power company or directly from clean power providers such as the New England Wind Fund. The city needs 134 more clean energy households by the end of June to qualify for the bonus solar system award.
Mayor James Fiorentini was hopeful that the challenge could be met before the end of June. "Switching to clean, renewable electric power is a way for citizens to show their leadership in green technology and commitment to progress in Haverhill. If 134 more households make this change by the end of June, the bonus solar system will be an accomplishment for all of us to be proud of."
In the remaining weeks of the challenge period, the New England Wind Fund is the clean energy option most likely to help cities meet the challenge goals. A commitment of $5 or more per month, or a one-time donation of at least $100, will qualify homes as a clean energy homes that count toward the MTC challenge. The New England Wind Fund, operated by Mass Energy Consumers Alliance in cooperation with partner organizations, uses the funds to supply clean electric power onto the grid, and to invest in new clean electric power facilities.
Said Larry Chretien, Executive Director of Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, “Contributions to the New England Wind Fund will put more clean, carbon-free windpower onto the grid – from projects right here in Massachusetts. And by helping Haverhill win the Solar Challenge, contributors will enjoy cleaner, carbon-free solar energy right in the community, providing educational as well as economic and environmental benefits”.
Clean Water Action Massachusetts, a Boston-based environmental advocacy organization, has supported many Massachusetts cities and towns in efforts to promote clean energy and other health and sustainability issues. Lilah Glick of Clean Water Action noted, "this is an incredible opportunity for the citizens of Haverhill to support the development of renewable energy in New England, which will help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, while cleaning our air and helping to build a sustainable industry in the region."
Mayor Fiorentini and Mike LaBonte announced that a movie showing and discussion would be held at 7:00 pm, Thursday June 19 in the Johnson Auditorium at the Haverhill Public Library. The 55 minute documentary film "Kilowatt Ours" will be shown to explain the need for clean energy and what people can do about it. Experts will be on hand to answer questions, and refreshments will be served.
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