- Community Development
- Sustainability Division
The City of Gloucester is committed to creating a sustainable city through the promotion of clean, renewable energy sources, energy conservation, and resiliency. Gloucester has been recognized as a regional Climate Leader and was one of the first communities in the state to achieve Green Communities Designation. At that time the City adopted the State's Stretch Energy Code and implemented a Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy. Gloucester currently offsets a little over 70% of its municipal electricity demand with renewables from two local wind turbines at Blackburn Industrial Park (data pertains FY 2022) and has invested over 1 million dollars into energy efficiency and electrification retrofits at municipal facilities since 2010.
The City established the Clean Energy Commission (CEC) in 2009 to promote clean energy options in Gloucester including energy efficiency, conservation, and the development of clean and renewable energy.
In 2022 the city published it's first Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP). This plan sets the road map for Gloucester's future climate actions and outlines long-term energy, climate and resiliency goals. Several other city planning initiatives and studies provide guidance and technical insight in planning for a more resilient, clean energy future.
- 2023 Harbor Plan (Ongoing)
- 2021 Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP)
- 2019 Watershed and Water Supply Venerability and Management Strategy
- 2018 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Planning
- 2015 Coastal Climate Change and Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan
- 2015 Solar Feasibility Study
Stay engaged with Gloucester's Community Development and Planning work by following Innovate Gloucester's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.
Gloucester Climate Action
Many residents want to know, what are tangible ways I can take Climate Action. In Gloucester, where 65% of emissions are produced by residents, residents have the power to make a big difference. Not only that, their are several resources to support residents in taking Climate Action. Depending on your age, if you own a home, your wants and needs, and your budget, some climate actions might be easy, while others might feel out of reach. The Gloucester Climate Action guide will help you to find actions that fit your life and connect you to resources that make it easier.
Gloucester Energy Challenge
The City is partnering with the Sponsors of Mass Save® and HomeWorks Energy to address one of the largest sources of emissions in the city – our homes. The Gloucester Energy Challenge is designed to supports residents in taking advantage of incentives already available to them through Mass Save. Almost 500 households in Gloucester had taken the first step by getting a no-cost energy assessments since 2021. Go to the Gloucester Energy Challenge page to learn more.
Gloucester Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA)
On April 26, 2016 The City Council voted to authorize the Mayor to investigate and establish the City's Community Electricity Aggregation program. In operation since December 2018, the program provides residents and businesses with more stable electricity rates, competitive pricing, and renewable energy options. Please, note future savings cannot be guaranteed because future National Grid rates are unknown. Visit the program website, gloucester-cea.com, for program details.
With over 20% of city parcels in the FEMA 1% chance flood zone, Gloucester is highly susceptible to flood damage from coastal storms. As of 2019, flood damage insurance payments to Gloucester property owners totaled over $7 million dollars – the sixth highest in the state. As the climate warms, projections for the future include increasing rates of sea level rise and more frequent and intense coastal storms. In February of 2023 City Council adopted new Floodplain regulation that is designed to to protect properties and address future flood risk by limiting new development in the current flood zone and ensuring that the development review process considers potential impacts of future sea level rise. This regulation will go into effect June 1, 2023.
Municipal Wind at Blackburn (A Public-Private Partnership)
Through the summer and into the winter of 2011 the city evaluated and permitted a two turbine 4MW renewable energy project proposed by Equity Industrial Partners LLC to be located on the site home to Gloucester Engineering at 11 Dory Road in the Blackburn Industrial Park. After permitting the project, the city successfully negotiated a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the future operator of the project Equity Industrial Turbines LLC. Under the agreement a substantial portion of the city’s electric will be purchased from this renewable energy project at a discounted rate. The project was commissioned and began generating energy in late December 2012. On average, revenues to the City from Municipal Wind at Blackburn have been $300,000 per year (based on revenues data between FY14 and FY21) and generation from the project currently offsets a little over 70% of all municipal electricity demand (data pertains to the period of FY 2022).
- Gloucester Daily Times Report on Turbine Performance, May 25, 2015.
- Installation Photos - November 2012
- Installations Video Available at the Sawyer Free Library
Little River Restoration Project
Including nature-based solutions in mitigating the future impacts of Climate Change is a high priority for the City of Gloucester. A key success in this area was the Little River Restorations and Flood Mitigation project, which involved day-lighting portions of buried waterway, replacing an aging concrete channel with a natural stream bed, and restoring sensitive coastal wetlands. The restoration effort has already dramatically improved ecological conditions, eliminated a public safety hazard, reduced flooding risks, and enhanced climate change resiliency in the small coastal stream that flows from Lily Pond to the Annisquam River.
In 2016 the City of Gloucester converted its streetlights to LEDs. Approximately 2,800 lights were replaced thereby saving 2/3 of the energy consumed prior to the installation. This measure has reduced harmful glare while also lighting the areas that need actually need lighting rather than the sky!
Gloucester was one of the first communities in the state to achieve Green Communities Designation in 2010. The City adopted progressive guidelines and standards in order to become a Green Community, including an Energy Reduction Plan, Fuel Efficient Energy Policy, and Stretch Energy Code.By becoming a Green Community, Gloucester has been awarded grants that help fund various energy conservation projects. To date, the City has invested over 1 million dollars into energy efficiency updates at municipal facilities, including lighting upgrades at several municipal facilities, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system upgrades, and a citywide Light Emitting Diode (LED) streetlight retrofit.
Gloucester is ranked Silver as a SolSmart community. Find out more by visiting: solsmart.org/communities/gloucester/
The City of Gloucester's City Council has adopted PACE. Find out about financing options for your business here: https://www.massdevelopment.com/what-we-offer/key-initiatives/pace/