Post Content

Tom Witkin

Tom Witkin

Marketing and Collaboration, Department of Energy Resources (DOER) 

View Tom’s Bio

Worcester water PV roof mount 200x150When Phil Guerin, a 28-year City of Worcester employee, was named a White House Champion of Change in a West Wing ceremony on February 15, he and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted the essential roles played by local, state, and federal government to bring an energy project to life. Guerin was honored for his work leading a partnership to reduce energy use through a successful renewable energy project.  

Guerin, Worcester’s Director of Environmental Systems for the Department of Public Works and Parks, was the key person-on-the-ground who brought this three-part collaboration to a successful conclusion. The 135 kw project is made up of roof and ground-mounted solar arrays that provide electricity to an energy intensive water filtration plant, which supplies drinking water to 200,000 people in Worcester. 

Secretary LaHood said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) made it possible for community partners like Guerin to bring about real change.

A community culture that firmly embraces sustainability was critical to the success of the project. Worcester was one of the first Massachusetts municipalities to earn Green Community status. Last fall, the city co-hosted with National Grid a community Green2Growth summit. In December, the city launched its Worcester Energy Program

According to Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) Jack Hamm and Patricia Arp, central to the success of the project was an effective Department of Public Works & Parks team that included Bob Hoyt, the Water Filtration Plant Manager and a clean energy advocate. 

The Patrick-Murray Administration’s goal to promote a clean energy economy set the stage and provided policies and processes to make projects like Guerin’s possible. Even before ARRA stimulus funds became available, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and MassDEP teamed up – as part of the state’s Energy Leaders initiative – to conduct audits to identify water and waste water plants with the best potential for renewable energy sources, including PV. 

Worcester water PV ground mount 200x150The Worcester project received $1,173,684 in federal grants to fund the project and DOER procured a contractor to manage the solar installation and a consultant to assure proper installation and electricity production. MassDEP supplied the ARRA grant money through the State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans to cities, towns, and other local governmental units for drinking water and wastewater-related infrastructure projects. John Odell, Program Manager for the Worcester Energy Program, noted that the “timing worked extremely well,” and the clear process removed barriers to the city’s municipal project.

All of EEA congratulates Phil Guerin and his colleagues for the project’s success and for his recognition as a White House Champion of Change. We applaud his team and the City of Worcester for the work they’ve done to demonstrate how all three levels of government can work together to meet critical statewide clean energy and environmental goals.

Written By:

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau posted on Dec 17

New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau

The 335 acre Walden Pond State Reservation annually attracts 500,000 people from all over the world, who journey there not just for recreation but for inspiration. Those visitors will soon have another amenity to enjoy. Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick joined community leaders, other public officials, environmentalists and project partners to break ground on the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new $8 million Walden Pond Visitor Center, designed to incorporate a wide-range of sustainable materials and technologies.

Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake) posted on Dec 10

Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)

The United States was created from thirteen colonies, which suggests that thirteen is a lucky number. Massachusetts just added another lucky thirteen. A new round of Green Communities – you guessed it, thirteen of them – brings the total number of cities and towns that   …Continue Reading Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)

How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System? posted on Dec 4

How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?

How many municipal inspections does it take to install a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system? Two is the magic number, however it can often be difficult to hit. In order for a solar customer to install an array, their system must obtain a building and   …Continue Reading How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?