11 Central Mass. communities receive grants to prepare for climate change (Worcester Telegram Gazette 5/30/18)
To people standing on Nauset Beach in Orleans near the spot where Liam’s restaurant stood for many years, until a series of recent storms eroded 60 feet of sandy bluff, the reason for climate change preparedness grants announced Tuesday by state environmental officials was clear. Coastal communities may be the most visible face of climate change’s impact.
But Central Massachusetts communities also need to prepare for impacts from extreme weather, even if rising seas aren’t lapping at their borders.
Eleven area cities and towns received a total of $315,000, from more than $2 million in state grant funding awarded to 82 towns and cities statewide, through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program. The grants provide communities with technical support, climate change data and planning tools to identify hazards and develop strategies to improve resilience, according to a news release from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
The communities are Auburn, Brookfield, Clinton, Harvard, Hudson, Leicester, Marlboro, Sutton, Uxbridge, West Boylston and Worcester. (read more)
Battery-powered buses could signal a more efficient, cleaner MBTA.
If you’re waiting for the T — and you’re willing to wait a year for a new test bus — you might be able to breathe easier.
A new battery-powered bus set to be tested early next year may bring a zero-emission vehicle to Boston streets and, in the process, help ease the T’s train- and bus-purchasing woes.
Supported by a federal grant, the T is ordering five 60-foot, no-emission, battery powered models that will be used to help develop specifications for the next procurement of hundreds of buses.
Those include replacements for more than 500 diesel buses now in service that are being slowly replaced by hybrid gas-electric and compressed natural gas models. There are also all-electric trackless trolleys running in Cambridge and Watertown and, peculiar to the T, buses for the Silver Line’s Seaport, Logan Airport, and Chelsea routes, which use a trolley pole for part of the trip and switch to a diesel motor for the rest. (read more)
Have you had the commuter experience of being stuck in traffic, looking at the cars around you, wondering if it would be faster to walk to your destination? If so, you’re not alone. As Arlington continues to grow, with more residents commuting to more places, our current road setup is not keeping pace with our needs. Significant resources were expended to reconstruct Massachusetts Avenue over the last decade; the road is now designed to accommodate many modes of transportation. Massachusetts Avenue is the spine of Arlington’s transportation system and could do even more to capitalize on bus transit.
Up until 1955, a streetcar ran on Massachusetts Avenue on a dedicated track lane from Arlington Heights to Harvard Square. In the 2018 morning rush hour, heavy car traffic, three bus routes, and a growing bicycle community are all competing for street space. The delays are significant, leading to missed appointments and plenty of frustration.
Improving transportation along this corridor is critical to Arlington’s economic development, health, and quality of life. It’s clear we need a solution to move more people, more efficiently, using less space. For these reasons, we’re taking steps to modernize Arlington’s bus system in the direction of bus rapid transit (BRT), starting with a pilot project on Massachusetts Avenue. (read more)
Bay State Wind is one of three projects, along with Deepwater Wind and Vineyard Wind, competing in a state-led bidding process in which Massachusetts power companies will buy electricity from offshore wind. A 2016 state law requires power companies to buy long-term contracts for at least 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power in the next decade.
Bay State Wind has signed agreements with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Utility Workers Union of America and its Power for America initiative, and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, along with Bristol Community College and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, according to a news release. (read more)
Light, panels, action: Stockbridge celebrates its new 900-kW solar array (The Berkshire Eagle 5/3/18)
STOCKBRIDGE — Under a blazing sun, town leaders Wednesday toasted the completion of a solar array that is expected to generate significant savings — and income — for the town.
The 900-kilowatt Ameresco installation on the former town landfill is projected to yield an estimated $60,000 a year in electricity cost savings from National Grid and more than $1 million in combined power savings and tax revenue over the 20-year life of the solar farm.
"This exciting project demonstrates Stockbridge's commitment to increasing the percentage of power we use from sustainable renewable energy solutions, with the added benefit of reducing what the town pays for electricity," said Stephen Shatz, a former Select Board chairman who piloted the project since it was proposed in early 2015. (read more)
Concord residents looking to reduce their carbon footprint or their heating bills may get an assist from a new campaign by education and group purchasing organization HeatSmart Mass.
The campaign, dubbed HeatSmart CCL by the group, allows residents and businesses in Concord, Carlisle and Lincoln to purchase air-source and ground-source heat pumps and modern wood heating systems at a discounted rate from select providers.
“Of the three options, ground-source heat is the most efficient,” Jan Aceti,Energy Conservation Coordinator at Concord Municipal Light Plant, said.
Aceti explained that ground-source heat systems take advantage of temperatures underground remaining fairly consistent year-round. In the winter, the system can gather heat from the relatively warmer earth underground and pump it up into a home. In the summer, it does the reverse, pumping heat down from a home into the relatively cooler ground.
Because the process doesn’t require combustion, Aceti said the system requires much less energy to heat or cool a house than traditional methods. (read more)
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