The Shutesbury Energy Committee was established in the 1970s, and in the early 2000s, the Committee was tasked with exploring ways to take advantage of Green Communities funding, e.g., solar panel installation, energy audits, and measures of energy conservation.
Citizens of Shutesbury had already voted with their feet to support renewable energy! In 2006, our town placed second in the Commonwealth for the percentage of households (8%) that signed up for the "Green Up" Clean Energy Choice Program. This program supports renewable sources in electric power generation and provides funds to help towns to pursue renewable energy projects and energy education — funds that could be complemented by additional grants from the Renewable Energy Trust from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative for use in local solar and wind energy projects.
In 2008, the Town completed installation of a small 2kW solar array on the Elementary School. That project was followed by installation of a larger 10kW system behind Town Hall in 2009, and National Grid installed a net meter in 2010.
In 2011 Shutesbury was awarded a Green Community Designation with a grant of $142,275 for energy efficiency projects. That grant funded a 15 kW pole-mounted solar PV system at the Fire Station, and an energy audit of the Fire Station to determine appropriate energy conservation measures for the heating and hot water system and implementation of DOER-approved measures from the completed audit. The grant additionally funded the following energy conservation measures: an HVAC upgrade at the Town Hall; air sealing, fan controls, and variable frequency drives at the Elementary School; and an upgrade to interior lighting at the Fire Station. National Grid installed a net meter at the Fire station in 2013.
In April of 2018, the Select Board revised the charge of the Energy Committee to study, and recommend to the Select Board, policies, approaches, and projects on energy efficiency, conservation and generation that would benefit the town and its residents.
Since 2018, the town has taken a number of steps to address issues related to the effects of climate change. Those steps included adoption of the 2020 Municipal Vulnerability Plan, which includes a comprehensive assessment of the town's baseline climate-change and natural hazard vulnerability, with a list of priority actions to be taken by the Town. Further, the Town's Hazard Mitigation Plan was updated to identify specific actions for the Town to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards, and was approved by FEMA in January 2022.
Given the identified threats from climate change, and the need to address energy policies and programs that could help mitigate the effects through municipal and community efforts, the Select Board in February 2022 adopted a reconfiguration of the Committee as the Energy and Climate Action Committee.