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Alliance letter urges energy future without Cape Wind

In a letter to Governor-elect Deval Patrick, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has outlined a five-point energy plan for the state.

The first of those five points is the selection of an alternative site for Cape Wind Associates’ proposal to build 130 wind turbines in Nantucket Sound.

“Our ideas are submitted in good faith for serious consideration by the new administration in the new year,” said Charles Vinick, president and CEO of the Alliance. “We acknowledge the governor-elect’s support for Cape Wind during the campaign, but we take him at his word about intentions to continue to study the serious issues confronting the project and being open to dialogue.

Reached for comment Wednesday morning, Mark Rodgers, spokesman for Cape Wind Associates, took the letter’s first proposal with a grain of salt.

“For an organization that was created specifically to oppose wind turbines in Nantucket Sound to come out five years later and say they’re open to considering wind turbines in locations other than Nantucket Sound isn’t surprising and doesn’t represent any sort of breakthrough,” said Rodgers.

He added: “If Cape Wind is approved, it will have been found to be an appropriate site and in the public interest by both federal and state public agencies.”

Review continues

The Alliance sent the three-page letter to the governor-elect through the Energy and Environment Working Group of Patrick’s transition committee.

Shortly after his election, in a speech at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Patrick urged Cape Wind supporters to “listen hard” to project opponents.

According to the Alliance, the letter was written in that spirit.

“Our platform is a good place to start,” Vinick said.

The Dec. 13 letter begins with the following comment: “The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is a strong supporter of renewable energy, provided sites are chosen responsibly with maximum public involvement and without excessive conflict. The controversy that has surrounded the Cape Wind project shows that the conflicts this project poses are too numerous and that public involvement in siting is essential.”

It then offers the following five recommendations: find an alternative location for Cape Wind; establish municipal alternative energy projects; pursue a state ocean management plan; establish incentives to control demand through energy conservation and energy efficiency programs and limit emissions through existing plant upgrades; and invest in deepwater wind technology.

The Minerals Management Service, the federal agency which is leading the review of the project, expects a draft environmental impact statement around February.

The draft EIS will be followed by public hearings, a final EIS in the fall and a record of decision by winter.

Patrick, one of the first candidates to support the controversial wind farm project during the recent campaign, will be sworn in as governor Thursday, Jan. 4.

By Craig Salters