We are writing to invite you to a series of action-oriented seminars to help municipalities served by the Southeast Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) realize the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, and local food production.
Developed by the Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability, the UMass Dartmouth Office of Campus and Community Sustainability, and SRPEDD, the four seminars will focus on: Municipal Energy Efficiency; Cultivating Wind Energy; Cultivating Solar Energy; and Promoting Local Food Production. These sessions will speak to zoning bylaw development as well as other issues that tend to be stumbling blocks.
Invitations are being sent to municipal officials and community members in each of SRPEDD's 27 communities. We hope that you will join us or assign one of your colleagues to represent your community as we come together as a region pursuing sustainable objectives.
Seminars will include presentations by local, state, and national authorities and panels of local leaders. There will be time for discussion about regional initiatives as well as opportunities to interact with Green Communities officials and Energy Savings Companies.
Our overarching goals for these seminars are:
- To help our communities reap the financial benefits of energy savings, renewable energies, and local food production;
- To help communities develop coordinated strategies for siting renewable energy installations;
- To support SRPEDD communities considering Green Communities designation with resources available from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources;
- To share best practices in by-laws and other approaches;
- To develop a regional collegial dialogue about the energy and food issues facing Southeastern Massachusetts.
The seminars are:
- November 8 (8:30-1:00) Energy Efficiency keynoted by Rick Sullivan, MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Other speakers include Steve Grattan from NStar, Steve Smith from SRPEDD and officials from Fairhaven, Lakeville and Mansfield. They will introduce the numerous programs available to help Massachusetts cities and towns become more energy efficient in their buildings, streetlights, vehicles and public works operations - REGISTER HERE
- January 10: Solar Energy keynoted by Mark Sylvia, Commissioner of Mass Department of Energy Resources. This seminar will feature discussions on how to write and adopt municipal solar energy zoning/siting by-laws, renewable energy requirements for becoming a Green Community; information about the state's Solarize Mass pilot project underway in 17 cities and towns; issues relating to utility interconnection of solar power; the growth of solar installations on closed municipal landfills; and more - REGISTER HERE
- February 7: Wind Energy keynoted by Steven Clarke, Assistant Secretary for Energy. Massachusetts has seen a 33-fold increase in installed wind energy generation since 2007, with 100 megawatts now installed - enough to power over 31,600 homes and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from over 21,500 cars annually. With abundant wind resources offshore, along the coast, and in the higher elevations of Central and Western Massachusetts, wind energy presents an opportunity to reclaim much of the approximately $18 billion Massachusetts sends out of the state to purchase energy. Barbara Kates-Garnick, Energy Undersecretary, MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will keynote this seminar devoted to answering questions related to local siting of wind energy projects. Join local and state wind energy experts to learn the benefits and challenges of wind power, municipal wind energy siting, the renewable energy requirements for becoming a Green Community, and more.- REGISTER HERE
- March 7: Food Security keynoted by Greg Watson, Commissioner of Mass Department of Agriculture. With droughts and increasingly uncertain food supplies and prices, food security is becoming an important issue for all regions of the globe. Luckily, Southeastern Massachusetts has an abundance of fertile soils, though not all available plots are being cultivated and many that once were lost their markets to large industrial farming and international produce trade. - REGISTER HERE
Register for the seminars here. Please mark your calendars for the 2013 gatherings and let us know if we can answer any questions. We look forward to growing a critical mass of supportive community representatives that can help each other move the Southeastern Massachusetts forward in its sustainability achievements.
Director, Office of Campus and Community Sustainability UMass Dartmouth
Executive Director, SRPEDD