Community Engagement

Boston’s Community Energy Study

Microgrid Workshops

Energy Mapping in Boston

Additional Resources


Thriving economies and healthy communities depend on reliable, affordable energy supply. The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) works collaboratively on energy supply issues with communities, regulators, and utilities. Emerging technologies and new urban development create a wealth of opportunity for Boston to increase local energy supply. Mayor Walsh’s 2014 Climate Action Plan Update describes goals for the Boston’s energy supply, including targets for the installation of solar power, expanding usage of the district steam system, and increasing the use of cogeneration technology within the City limits.

Community Engagement

BPDA staff works with communities and project developers to identify clean energy solutions and bring technical assistance to the table. The TNT Eco Innovation District is an example of communities that are working hard to define a clean energy future. The BPDA also partners with organizations to educate the public on the benefits of district energy and microgrids.

The BPDA works with the the Department of Energy Technical Assistance Partnerships to introduce communities to the concept of district energy, combined heat and power, and microgrids. Additionally, the BPDA works with the tenants of the Boston Marine Industrial Park to explore the benefits of district energy and energy efficiency.

See the section on Boston Microgrids Workshops to learn more about stakeholder engagement regarding past clean energy workshops.

Boston’s Community Energy Study

The Boston Community Energy Study was initiated by the BPDA to identify “hot spots” for potential Community Energy Solutions that would achieve three goals: lower total cost of energy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and increased resiliency for residents and businesses. Community Energy Solutions include targeted energy efficiency, district energy, microgrids, local energy generation and energy storage solutions.

Learn more

Microgrid Workshops

Boston Microgrid Workshops

Boston Planning & Development Agency and City of Boston, Pace University Energy and Climate Center

The Boston Planning & Development Agency and City of Boston co-hosted to a series of microgrid workshops with a wide range of stakeholders, from state to local representatives. The group developed a business model for Community Energy Solutions- defining and overcoming barriers to local energy supply. A high-level consensus was reached as the group focused on the unique problems presented by Massachusetts statutes and regulations, which have set the table for a respectful collaboration between all parties.

A series of three workshops on microgrids were convened by the City of Boston and PACE University Energy and Climate Center, with funding from the John Merck Foundation. The workshops were held in March, May and July 2014 and included stakeholder representatives from the Department of Public Utilities, City of Boston, distribution companies, DG and microgrid developers, and customers. The workshops included legal and economic analysis; identification of benefits, costs, deal-makers and deal-breakers; and the development of a straw proposal for a multi-user microgrid that could be used as a template for pilot projects in Massachusetts. The workshops were facilitated by Dr. Jonathan Raab.

See the materials from the workshops:

USDN Multi-User Microgrids & District Energy

USDN, City of Boston (host), Pace University, Harvard Law School, IDEA

Building on the Boston Microgrid Workshops, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) provided the City of Boston and its partners - Raab Associates, Pace University, Harvard Law School, IDEA, and the Green Building Council - a grant to design and run a larger project on Microgrids and District Energy. The project brought together four cities in Massachusetts (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Northampton), along with New York City and Washington D.C. (as well as three Tier 2 cities), key regulators and utilities from the three jurisdictions, and key district energy/microgrid developers. The purpose was to learn together about emerging best practices related to forging multi-user agreements that create value, and are legally and technically sound. The project consisted of a cities-only web-assisted conference call; a white paper with case studies capturing lessons learned and emerging best practices; a legal and value-stream analyses of microgrid issues in the three jurisdictions; a straw proposal for multi-user microgrids; a face-to-face multi-stakeholder/multi-jurisdictional workshop (held on June 29th in conjunction with the International District Energy Association (IDEA) 2015 conference in Boston); and a final report which will serve as a primer for other cities considering microgrids and district energy.

USDN Final Report

Energy Mapping in Boston

Boston's Community Energy Study

Explore the Boston Community Energy Study’s interactive map. This study is meant to inspire communities to learn more and create their own vision for local energy supply. Learn about the potential cost savings, carbon savings, and resiliency benefits.

Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO)

Explore the energy use information collected through the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance. By providing better information on building energy use, reporting and disclosure is enabling owners and tenants to become more aware of energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities to reduce all three. Learn more

Building Energy Reporting

Boston Solar Map

A map to see if your rooftop has potential for solar. Note that buildings in downtown Boston will have difficulty installing solar because of interconnection problems. Moreover, condo associations may have difficulty installing solar on their roofs. Learn more

Boston Solar Map

Additional Resources

Boston’s Energy Ecosystem: Framing the national conversation

Community Microgrids: A Guide for Mayors and City Leaders Seeking Clean, Reliable and Locally Controlled Energy

Documents All Documents »

USDN Final Report PDF, 4.7MB

Share Your Thoughts

We want to hear from you! All questions, comments and ideas are welcome. Comments are received and reviewed by members of the Community Energy Planning team.

To submit a comment in a language besides English, please email [email protected].
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