During construction, Cape Wind will need a staging facility at a New England port where it will assemble turbines and monopoles for transport to the wind farm site. Whatever port hosts that facility will benefit from significant additional economic activity. This will be especially true if, in the long term, Cape Wind spurs the development of a larger offshore wind industry in the Northeast (note to Cape Wind opponents: I said “if”).
Back in the deep dark past, before obstruction from the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound caused more than a decade of delay, Cape Wind’s federal application named Quonset Point Rhode Island as the site of this facility. For many years now, however, Cape Wind has expressed a desire to shift the facility to New Bedford, Massachusetts due to that site’s obvious advantages:
a. Proximity to the wind farm site.
b. 400 construction jobs would be created in Cape Wind’s home state of Massachusetts.
Describing the details of this many year Rhode Island vs. Massachusetts issue would make for a very tedious blog. Suffice it to say that, at long last, it’s official: This past week Cape Wind announced that its staging facility will be located in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Cape Wind will begin using the facility in January.
Question: How should a Massachusetts resident with an ounce of common sense react to this announcement?
By cheering Hurrah!!! of course
Another question: Who, from Massachusetts, with an ounce of common sense could oppose such a decision which would accrue economic benefits to Massachusetts rather than to Rhode Island? Who? Anybody? Don’t think too hard…
You guessed it: The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is criticizing this change. From the Alliance’s President Audra Parker:
“Cape Wind’s federal permits have always called for staging in Rhode Island. The project must now undergo additional federal review for a move to a New Bedford location.”
What Audra? No thumbs up for the economic boost that New Bedford will receive? No enthusiasm for 400 construction jobs in your home state of Massachusetts? All you care about is paperwork and procedure?
And anyway: Jim Gordon, President of Cape Wind, has stated that Cape Wind will seek the modification that appears to be keeping Ms. Parker awake at night. Per the Boston Globe:
“Gordon said Cape Wind will file a request for modification of its construction plan with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to allow the use of the New Bedford site”.
So, what’s your beef Audra?
Over the years, Ms. Parker and the Alliance have peddled scores of laughable criticisms of Cape Wind (my personal favorite: Suggestions of Sicilian Mafia involvement in the project). But this criticism is about as clearly wrong as any ever made by the Alliance. Any way you look at this port shift to New Bedford, you come up with benefits for Massachusetts.
Only the Alliance could complain about this one