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Medford (MA) Mayor McGlynn Leads with Clean Energy Campaign, Emissions Reduction

By Michael J. McGlynn, Mayor
March 5, 2007


Mayor Michael McGlynn

The Medford Clean Energy Committee (MCEC) was established in January 2004 by Mayor Michael McGlynn consisting of nine appointed members charged with educating the public on clean, renewable energy and investigating opportunities for renewable energy projects within the City of Medford. Many renewable energy sources – wind and solar power, in particular – have little or no greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality, and are locally produced. Since October 2004 the MCEC and the City of Medford’s Energy and Environment Office have been working with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) on the Medford Leads with Clean Energy Campaign to educate the Medford community on clean, renewable energy and to generate support for the future siting of renewable technology within the City and the Commonwealth.

The MCEC successfully achieved this Campaign by:

  • Providing Medford residents with an easy way to learn basics about renewable energy; a framework for positive action residents can follow, and a reliable way to measure positive community action;

  • Developing and participating in local events to integrate MCEC with the community;

  • Using the Mayor’s office, City Hall, City Council, Medford Public Schools, and MTC as asset to leverage efforts;

  • Emphasizing current use of renewables in the City of Medford;

  • Having every member of the MCEC involved in this outreach program;

  • Used joint partnerships with local allied organizations;

  • Focusing activities and programs that resulted in measurable results; and

  • Developing tools and materials long-term in nature to ensure that the message will be ongoing.

Prior to this, the City had been working on a number of clean energy initiatives including the installation of solar panels on City Hall and Hormel Stadium, conducting preliminary wind energy feasibility studies and coordinating field trips to Hull Wind Turbine and the IBEW turbine with Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) for a group of about 200 Medford students.

Benefits and Costs

The Medford Leads with Clean Energy Campaign consisted of the creation of numerous public outreach materials including poster/flyers, banners, website, direct mailing, and PR materials, and several public outreach events. The two most notable successes of the Campaign were the creation of a renewable energy website (www.medfordcleanenergy.org) and the amount of households that signed up for National Grid’s GreenUp Program which allows customers to choose to have all or part of their electricity generated from renewable resources—while earning MTC’s Clean Energy Choice Matching Grants for Medford (www.cleanenergychoice.org). During the Campaign the website was a great tool for residents of all ages including children to learn about clean energy. Almost 3,000 people visited the website in an eight month period. The website will continue to be a source of public outreach in the future, and provide a means for the MCEC to educate and track its efforts. It is estimated that about 39,000 residents were reached in some way by this Campaign.

In October 2004, the MCEC was awarded $15,000 to participate in MTC’s Education and Outreach Awareness Program which funded the Medford Leads with Clean Energy Campaign. Through this Campaign the City of Medford has earned almost $20,000 in MTC Clean Energy Choice matching grants that will be used for future renewable energy related projects throughout the City. This grant set a strong foundation for the Campaign. The next steps include continued public outreach and implementation of additional renewable energy projects throughout the City. Currently, the MCEC is actively pursuing installation of a wind turbine at its public schools.

Vehicle Emissions Reduction Program (VERP)

Medford’s VERP exemplifies what other municipalities can do when developing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollutants.

The City’s Vehicle Emissions Reduction Program seeks to improve air quality by retrofitting all other major fleets with routes in Medford. These fleets include vehicles used in the City’s department of Public Works; Waste Management’s refuse haulers and recycling trucks; and school buses. By focusing on minimizing potential pollutants from the fleets used in the City of Medford, it is anticipated that this will improve air quality in the City.

VERP PHASE I

Phase I will retrofit the Department of Public Work’s (DPW) fleet including diesel vehicles used by the highway, parks, water and sewer, forestry and cemetery divisions and refuse haulers and recycling trucks on contract that provide service to the City. A Climate Protection grant awarded from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs was used to retrofit a portion of the DPW fleet in June 2006.

Medford has also begun integrating alternative fuels and vehicles into its municipal fleet. Since 2004 the cemetery fleet has been utilizing biodesel fuel (B-20).

VERP PHASE II

Phase II of VERP is known as Medford’s Clean School Bus USA Program. This program will be used to retrofit the entire school bus fleet. The Clean School Bus Project received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to install diesel particulate filters (DPFs and diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) on the 70 buses owned by its bus contractor. All buses converted from using standard diesel fuel to using ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD). While the City only uses 19 of these buses, officials chose to address he air quality needs of the entire region.

The City of Medford received $483,300 to implement Phase II of the VERP from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus USA Grant Program and received $5,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection from a portion of Phase I of the VERP.

For futher information, contact Patricia L. Barry, Environmental Agent for the Energy & Environment Office.

Email address: pbarry@medford.org

Phone number: 781-393-2137