With the Biden administration investing tens of billions of dollars into clean-energy projects, local, state and federal officials met in Dorchester Wednesday to celebrate upcoming renovations at a housing complex — remodels that leaders hope could be a model for the future.
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Gov. Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and others joined EPA Administrator Michael Regan for a tour of Franklin Field Apartments, which were part of a $32 million program by the Boston Housing Authority to improve air quality and energy efficiency.
Regan says he hopes it can be an example for projects to come.
“This administration is trying to create a rising tide that doesn’t leave anyone behind,” he said. “We're really here to mine this story and export it to the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.”
In July, the EPA opened up $20 billion in grant opportunities under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, hoping to spur hundreds of billions in financing from private investors. The fund was created under the historic Inflation Reduction Act signed last summer.
More than half of the federal funds will be devoted solely to disadvantaged communities. Leaders stressed the importance of focusing funds toward low-income areas that have faced the harshest consequences of the climate crisis.
“We may not be on the waterfront here at Franklin Field, but we are on the front lines of climate change,” Healey said. “That's because we understand that unfair, unequal health impacts, including higher rates of asthma, not only exist, but are going to get worse if we don't do something about it.”
With clean technology production increasing to meet the demand, leaders say the fund will add more union jobs to the sector. Joe Curtatone, president of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, says local companies are already feeling that help. Somerville-based Form Energy, for instance, is spreading energy storage options in pockets across the country.
“We see companies that I represent that are focused on retrofitting housing to be carbon neutral, or building new net-zero housing,” Curtatone said. “As well as companies like Form Energy, whose investments and growth has been backstopped by the Inflation Reduction Act.”