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Swampscott awarded for use of green power

SWAMPSCOTT — Swampscott has been recognized as a top user of green power, as only one of two Massachusetts municipalities to appear on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Communities list.

The town appears for the first time on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list at No. 37, town officials said. Wellesley is the other Massachusetts town.

Swampscott is using nearly 17 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which represents 24 percent of its total power needs. Swampscott’s choice to use green power is helping to advance the green power market and support clean renewable energy alternatives, officials said.

“I’m extremely proud of the direction our town is taking to move toward a greener future,” said Naomi Dreeben, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, in a statement. “It’s exciting to not only see Swampscott gain this recognition, but more importantly that we’re leading the way. Swampscott is currently one of only two communities in Massachusetts to receive the designation.”

The town’s green power use is through the community’s electricity aggregation program, Swampscott Community Power. The program was developed with support from the consulting team of Bay State Consultants and Peregrine Energy Group, approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in 2015, and the first electricity supply agreement to provide greener power to residents and businesses started in January 2016, officials said.

The program, a town electricity program that gives residents and businesses an electricity supply alternative to National Grid, while also helping to support the town’s sustainability efforts, provides 100 percent green energy and ensures that customers have choice because of a three-tier structure and transparency in the supply costs, officials said.

The community power program is an electricity aggregation, a form of group purchasing where a municipality selects an electricity supplier on behalf of its residents and businesses. The program impacts the electricity supply charges on their National Grid bill, officials said.

“Swampscott is proud to be recognized by the U.S. EPA for our green power use,” said Peter Kane, director of community development, in a statement. “Town Meeting members agreed with our desire to bring price-reliable electric supply in 2012 and we married that with the community’s focus on greenhouse gas reduction by developing the aggregation program.

“By making the choice to use clean, renewable energy, our community becomes more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the United States that using green power is a sound business and community decision. It’s an important tool in reducing one’s carbon footprint in the fight against climate change.”

Green power is zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass and low impact-hydro. Using green power helps build demand for the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps users reduce their carbon footprints, officials said.

Town officials cited stats from the EPA that shows Swampscott’s green power use of nearly 17 million kWh is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 2,000 average American homes annually.

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