Event Recap: ABC Conversation with MassCEC CEO Dr. Emily Reichert

In early May, A Better City hosted a conversation with the CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). During this event facilitated by ABC’s Director of Climate, Energy, and Resilience, Yve Torrie, Dr. Reichert shared about MassCEC’s role as a quasi-public state government agency that is funded through the state budget, and works alongside other state agencies, but is not part of one of the Secretariats. MassCEC serves as a key facilitator for industry to interface with state government and emerging funding opportunities and works with a variety of clean energy stakeholders, from homeowners to businesses and start-ups.

MassCEC works to support emerging technology in climatetech and in the clean energy space, including working with startups inventing new technologies to provide them with grants for testing, demonstration, and scaling up their business. MassCEC makes investments in climatetech through their 2030 Fund, or small investment fund that supports early-stage companies doing climatetech, disbursing $5M per year for every year between now and 2030. Such investments support efforts to decarbonize buildings and transportation, as well as manufacturing processes and to expand energy storage. Additionally, MassCEC is working to support the expansion of offshore wind in Massachusetts, towards the goal of 30 GW of power generation off our shores in Massachusetts and off the coast of Maine by 2035. Finally, Dr. Reichert discussed MassCEC’s investments in equitable workforce development, through programs like the MassCEC clean energy internship program and other opportunities for vocational schools, labor unions, and community colleges.

Dr. Reichert also emphasized the importance of supporting the Governor’s Mass Leads Act (H.4459), a $3.5B economic development bond bill that would provide $1B to climate innovation and technologies over the next 10 years, among other opportunities for bond authorizations and tax incentives. ABC will be submitting comments on the Mass Leads Act in the effort to help get to “yes.”

During the Q+A discussion, members asked Dr. Reichert how the business community could support her team, and she encouraged engagement with an anticipated Building Energy Exchange that will provide information for architects, contractors, and others to make assessments for the decarbonization of buildings, as well as participation in a Building Electrification Transformation Accelerator (BETA) pilot program to help accelerate decarbonization in existing buildings. MassCEC anticipates releasing an opportunity to engage large existing buildings in decarbonization pilots soon and hopes for collaboration with ABC members. Members also emphasized the opportunity to collaborate with ABC member organizations on the communications and dissemination of MassCEC’s work, and on federal funding opportunities. When members asked Dr. Reichert how MassCEC intends to embed equity across its work, she shared that all of MassCEC’s work operates within an equity lens, including specific programs that advance equity like the Massachusetts Community Climate Bank focusing on decarbonizing affordable housing, the $50M that MassCEC is deploying to identify and address barriers to electric vehicle charging, and the Empower Program, which helps communities and community groups decarbonize and bring clean energy into homes and businesses through a grassroots approach. Finally, Dr. Reichert also mentioned MassCEC’s Workforce Equity Training Fund, which supports minority and woman-owned businesses through training and providing funding, to help build community capacity.

For any questions or more information on this event, please contact Yve Torrie or Isabella Gambill.

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