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Plymouth one of three NH "Beacon Communities" to receive federal energy funds


April 29, 2010
PLYMOUTH — Vice President Joe Biden last week announced that New Hampshire Beacon Communities will receive $10 million of federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Retrofit Ramp-Up Initiative, designed to stimulate energy efficiency efforts in 25 communities across the nation, as models for building the new energy economy.

Plymouth joins the two other New Hampshire "Beacon Communities", Berlin and Nashua, that have been chosen to receive the funding that is expected to boost local construction and create clean energy jobs.

The funds are part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, with monies made available by the federal stimulus program, to help communities make strategic investments in energy efficiency initiatives and efforts to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

The Retrofit Ramp-Up funding will fund large-scale energy efficiency efforts for businesses and homeowners in the Towns of Plymouth, Nashua and Berlin by making revolving loan funds available at favorable rates in those communities.

"New Hampshire has made great progress in weatherizing and making buildings more energy efficient and this funding will help expand these efforts in a meaningful way," said Senator Jeanne Shaheen in a statement issued by her office last week. "This will help consumers save on their energy bills over time, and create construction jobs in these three communities. We must continue to invest in these types of programs to create jobs and take control of our energy future."

Plymouth Select Board Chairperson Valerie Scarborough took the opportunity to thank and congratulate members of the Plymouth Energy Committee and the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) for their work in securing the funds for the Town. "This is a remarkable achievement for Plymouth," said Scarborough. "It is a testament to the dedication and commitment of all those who served on the committee that wrote the grant. It is an incredibly great honor for Plymouth to be chosen as one of the 25 towns nationwide to receive these funds."

Scarborough said that she especially wanted to recognize the contribution of her fellow select board member and former Energy Committee Chairperson, Ray Gosney, who was responsible for identifying the resources and seizing the opportunity to draft the initial proposal for Plymouth.

In turn, Gosney said that he wanted to recognize Plymouth Energy Committee member, Madeleine McElaney, for generating the sense of excitement and urgency needed to get the initial proposal in on time during an extraordinarily short window of opportunity.

Current Plymouth Energy Committee Chairperson Paul Phillips also called the grant award a "stunning achievement for Plymouth." In addition to Gosney's "eagle eye" for spotting the grant opportunity, he said that the effort was the result of extraordinary cooperation amongst all the local partners, including the New Hampshire Electric Co-op (NHEC), Plymouth State University (PSU), the Jordan Institute, a number of prominent local banks, the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative and the Plymouth Energy Committee members.

In addition to Phillips, Plymouth Energy Committee members include Ray Gosney, Steve Whitman, Steve Kahl, Bob Reals, John Mauchly, Tyler Durham, David Colburn, Brandon Miller and Madeline McElaney.

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Garnett Hill
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