Environment Massachusetts Releases Report on Cape and Islands Clean Energy Efforts

Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein (left) with Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative President Charles McLaughlin, Jr. (center) and Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative Manager Liz Argo at Aselton Park in Hyannis.

Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein (left) with Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative President Charles McLaughlin, Jr. (center) and Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative Manager Liz Argo at Aselton Park in Hyannis.

HYANNIS – The Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center has issued a new report that highlights clean energy projects on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

A preview of the report was released during an event at Aselton Park in Hyannis on Tuesday.

The report features the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) for its efforts to expand solar and wind energy.

The report also profiles 15 Massachusetts cities and towns that are leading the way towards 100 percent renewable energy.

“Coastal communities like the Cape are increasingly being threatened by rising sea levels and by extreme storms that are becoming more frequent and more severe, so the time is now for us to move as quickly as possible towards 100 percent renewable energy,” said Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein.

The organization distributed a survey to officials in all of the towns and cities in the Commonwealth and received completed surveys from 191 municipalities.

In the report, over 41 percent of the communities have installed solar panels on at least one municipal property and more than 15 percent have installed other renewable energy technologies such as wind and geothermal technology.

Also, over 86 percent have completed an energy audit of at least one municipal building in the past 10 years.

CVEC’s renewable energy programs are discussed in the report, which includes the installation of over 28 megawatts of solar energy from 2010 to 2014.

“At CVEC, we’re working to make clean energy generic to our communities,” said CVEC President Charles S. McLaughlin, Jr. “Achieving 100 percent renewable energy for Massachusetts would keep more energy dollars within our local communities, create huge opportunities for job growth and help fight environmental degradation, a real threat to the Cape and Islands.”

CVEC’s members include Barnstable County, Dukes County and 17 towns and cities on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

“It’s a significant investment towards our future because we all know, if we live on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, we’re particularly aware that our environment is being affected by our fossil fuel use and anything we can do to curb that is going to help us solve it,” said CVEC Manager Liz Argo.

The report comes as Massachusetts legislators consider an energy bill that would double the rate of growth of clean energy, prohibit public money on new gas pipelines and jumpstart the state’s offshore wind industry.

House and Senate leaders have until Sunday to come to an agreement on energy legislation.

The Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center is visiting several other communities across the state to share findings of the report.

The full report from the organization will be released on August 4.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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