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Massachusetts Clean Energy Partnership Project Recognized As an ‘Innovation in Government’ Finalist

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, has recognized the “Massachusetts Clean Energy Partnership for Wastewater and Drinking Water Facilities” project as one of five finalists in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Partnership is a model program for use at wastewater and drinking water treatment plants to help cut energy use and increase efficiency, install new clean energy sources, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce operating costs. Since 2007, more than 120 treatment facilities across the Commonwealth have utilized the program’s technical assistance and funding sources as part of the Energy Leaders Roundtable.

The program is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and a number of energy utilities and professional trade associations.

“This project has reduced thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from our municipal treatment plants and saved $5 million annually in energy costs,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office. “We’re very proud of this work and hope it will continue to be a national model for partnerships between municipalities and state and federal agencies, helping both the environment and our economy.”

“Energy costs are significant for municipal water treatment plants,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “This program promotes the use of innovative energy, saves on energy costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Innovation and collaboration are hallmarks of Massachusetts’ energy and environmental initiatives,” said DOER Commissioner Judith Judson. “We think big and worked together to cut energy use and municipal costs by more than $6 million at water and wastewater treatment facilities, thanks to a 173 percent increase in on-site renewable generation since 2007.”

“This recognition is another example of UMass Lowell’s commitment to sustainability, this time through the efforts of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production. What started in 2007 as an experiment to gauge the potential for significant energy improvements in the water sector has been successfully used in all six New England states and 15 others,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “We commend Madeline Snow of the Lowell Center for the important role she has played in this project since its inception, including providing workshops for municipalities, facilitating collaboration between the partners and developing technical assistance tools for participants.”

“MassCEC is proud to work with our partners at the state and local levels to provide water and wastewater facilities the tools they need to make informed energy decisions, saving ratepayers money and making for a cleaner environment for us all,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton.\

The Commonwealth’s project is one of 25 government initiatives that represent the dedicated efforts of city, state and federal governments, and address such policy issues as economic development, environmental and community revitalization, public health, equal access to education, emergency preparedness, and health care. These programs were selected by a cohort of policy experts, researchers, and practitioners. A full list of the Top 25 and finalist programs is available at http://ash.harvard.edu

Those programs named as finalists will be making presentations to the National Selection Committee of the Innovations in American Government Awards, with the winner to be announced this summer. The presentations will be streamed live starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT on May 20 at http://www.hks.harvard.edu/live

“These programs represent the forefront in government innovation, and a cross-section of issues of the 21st century, including renewable energy, community revitalization, and public-private partnerships,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center. “They demonstrate that efforts to make government work better can stem not only from executive orders and statewide initiatives, but also small community programs and private citizens on social media.”

“The Ash Center is proud to recognize these programs and hopes that they will become a vital part of our ongoing efforts to create a community of innovators,” said Tony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “Each Top 25 program can become a blueprint for similar enterprises at all levels of government, inspiring leaders around the country to help improve their communities with opportunities for dialogue and replication.”

The Innovations in American Government Awards was created by the Ford Foundation in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness. Since its inception, more than 500 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $22 million in grants to support dissemination efforts. Such models of good governance also inform research and academic study around key policy areas both at Harvard Kennedy School and academic institutions worldwide. Past winners have served as the basis of case studies taught in more than 450 Harvard courses and over 2,250 courses worldwide.

© Copyright 2021 United States Environmental Protection AgencyNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 131
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The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA is to protect human health and the environment.

EPA's purpose is to ensure that:

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