Cool breeze or hot air: The case for Cape Wind

We stand on the precipice of clean technology leadership in the United States, and Cape Wind will finally give us some energy independence with ‘Made in Massachusetts’ clean energy
Op-ED: building and operating Cape Wind will stimulate economic growth in Southeast Massachusetts, creating hundreds of new jobs.

By George Bachrach, President of the Environmental League of Massachusetts

Last week, in the pages of Commonwealth Magazine, Mass Competitive Partnership Chairman John Fish restated his opposition to Cape Wind predicting the project would ‘never get built’ and a representative of the think tank, Frontiers of Freedom, penned an op ed arguing that clean energy projects like Cape Wind should not receive any help from the government because clean energy technologies were ‘not mature enough’.

In a May article in Commonwealth Magazine, former Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles said he believed that the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership’s opposition to Cape Wind had a lot to do with NIMBY as a majority of its board members owned vacation homes on the Cape and Islands. An editorial in Cape Cod Today made a similar point.

The recent op ed by Frontiers for Freedom makes the strained argument that because wind and solar are not more mature energy industries they should not receive government incentives. Apparently Frontiers for Freedom does not object to incentives the Federal Government has long lavished upon the oil, coal and nuclear industries. The op ed makes no mention that Frontiers for Freedom received hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years from the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil.

Had Europeans followed energy policy advice from Frontiers for Freedom, they perhaps would not have built 64 offshore wind farms and created 58,000 offshore wind jobs. Meanwhile the United States has the best offshore wind potential in the world, as yet untapped.

Here in Massachusetts, we stand on the precipice of clean technology leadership in the United States.

Clean energy projects and technology has created over 70,000 new jobs in the Commonwealth, the fastest growing sector of our economy. Clean Edge, Inc. ranked Massachusetts as the second highest state in the United States clean technology market this year. Early-stage technology development and large clean energy venture capital investments bring Massachusetts to the forefront of this market. This second place ranking is an exceptional accolade, reflecting the remarkable achievements of our state.

Massachusetts is densely populated and does not have many large tracts of land for large-scale onshore renewable energy generation projects. To significantly expand its capacity for renewable energy generation, Massachusetts must also look offshore. Cape Wind, the first offshore wind farm in the United States, will propel Massachusetts to the head of renewable energy development. Instead of being at the end of the OPEC and ExxonMobil energy pipelines, subject to their politics and cost spikes,

Cape Wind will finally give us some energy independence with ‘Made in Massachusetts’ clean energy.

Cape Wind will generate over 450 megawatts of energy, sufficient to power up to 500,000 homes.

Building and operating Cape Wind will stimulate economic growth in Southeast Massachusetts, creating hundreds of new jobs. And like in Europe where tourists board boats to view offshore wind turbines, thousands will flock to the Cape to view ours. Moreover, Cape Wind will help launch the new U.S. offshore wind industry, paving the way for further economic and environmental progress.

The Environmental League of Massachusetts is dedicated to protecting the health of our environment and citizenry by safeguarding the land, water and air of our Commonwealth. ELM is focused on environmental advocacy and strengthening the voice and effectiveness of the environmental community. ELM advocates for strong environmental laws and regulations on a broad range of environmental issues, voices the concerns of citizens, ensures that laws are properly implemented and enforced, and educates the public.

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