Berkshire Gas/DOER Collaborate on Million Dollar Alternative Heating Grant Program for Moratorium Communities
Pittsfield, MA – December 5, 2018 – At the time of the merger of Iberdrola USA, Inc. and UIL Holdings Corporation, the parent of Berkshire Gas Company, Berkshire Gas agreed to set aside $1.0 million to be allocated for jobs, economic development, or an alternative heating program for municipal owned buildings, low-income and moderate income residential consumers, or residences or businesses, as determined by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”), in the 8 communities affected by the natural gas moratorium in the Berkshire Gas service territory. These funds are not included in Berkshire Gas’ regulated cost of service and are not otherwise recoverable by Berkshire Gas through rates.
Recognizing the challenges imposed by the moratorium, Berkshire Gas sought the opportunity to support jobs and economic development through the alternative heating program, as outlined in the grant program.
Working jointly with the DOER, Berkshire Gas has established a Public Interest Benefit Grant Program focusing on alternative heating programs. This Program will provide grants up to an aggregate of $1 million for municipalities, businesses and non-profit or economic development agencies that utilize alternative heating technologies in the communities affected by the natural gas moratorium.
A Request for Proposals (“RFP”) outlining the details of the grant program and application form have been sent to the senior municipal executives in Amherst, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Sunderland, Turners Falls and Whately, the eight communities affected by the Berkshire Gas natural gas moratorium. The RFP is also available for review on the Berkshire Gas website.
Grants will be awarded to support projects that promote or use alternative heating programs. DOER has determined that eligible alternative heating programs must utilize one or more of the following alternative heating technologies: biomass heating systems (excluding biomass stoves); air source and ground source heat pumps; solar thermal; anaerobic digesters; or deep geothermal.
For the purposes of this RFP, eligible Projects must satisfy one of the following requirements:
- Jobs and Economic Development – Projects shall support job retention or job creation by allowing for the use of alternative heating technologies for new construction: the expansion of facilities; or the replacement of inefficient building heating systems.
- Municipal Owned Buildings – Projects include local government facilities such as those owned by regional school or public safety districts. Projects shall provide for the installation of alternative heating technologies for new construction; the expansion of facilities; or the replacement of inefficient building heating systems.
- Low and Moderate Income Residential Customers – Projects must provide support to low and moderate income populations through programs that utilize alternative heating technologies to replace residential heating systems; allow for the construction of new residential units; or that provides secondary heating for residential units.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis (“first come, first serve”) until the amount set aside ($1 million) has been expended. DOER anticipates completing the award of funds by March 1, 2019.
All inquiries concerning this grant program should be directed to David Lutes, Renewable Energy Program Coordinator at the DOER by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In commenting on the program, Berkshire Gas President and COO Karen Zink noted, “Berkshire Gas is excited to be able to offer this program and appreciates the cooperation and collaboration of the DOER in advancing this initiative for the benefit of the communities affected by the natural gas moratorium. We are hopeful that this million dollar initiative will be helpful to the affected communities.”
About AVANGRID: AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a leading, sustainable energy company with $31 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states. AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates 7.1 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, with a presence in 22 states across the United States. AVANGRID employs approximately 6,500 people.AVANGRID supports the U.N.’s Sustainability Development Goals, received a Climate Development Project climate score of “A-,” the top score received in the utilities sector, and has been recognized for two consecutive years by Ethical Boardroom as the North American utility with the “best corporate
governance practices.” For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
About Berkshire Gas: The Berkshire Gas Company is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. Established in 1853, Berkshire Gas operates 764 miles of natural gas distribution pipeline, serving approximately 40,000 customers across 20 Western Massachusetts communities. For more information, visit www.berkshiregas.com.