Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration is exploring sites for offshore wind turbines beyond Cape Wind’s, a move the governor hopes will make Massachusetts a leader in renewable energy.
During a wide-ranging interview with the Cape Cod Times editorial board, Patrick said the state is one of the best places for deep-water wind turbines and his administration wants to exploit that advantage.
The state may locate and permit sites before a developer comes in with a plan, Patrick said. New Jersey, Rhode Island and Delaware are doing similar pre-permitting.
Ian Bowles, the state secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said yesterday an offshore wind farm collaborative will consider all options.
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is mapping wind resources town by town and the state also is identifying state-owned land where wind farms could be located, Bowles said.
Charles Vinick, a spokesman for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said such preliminary reviews benefit both environmental and industry stakeholders. “It can help to avoid the types of pitfalls that have plagued Cape Wind.”
The governor renewed his support for Cape Wind, the 130-turbine project proposed for Nantucket Sound, calling it a “signature project” and lauding the environmental and energy benefits.
“He’s also called it symbolic,” Vinick said. “How can a 130-turbine project with the conflicts that exist in Nantucket Sound be symbolic?”
Patrick said he hasn’t dismissed opposition to Cape Wind. “Not all the people opposing this are rich, beachfront property owners concerned about their view. There are serious arguments on the other side. It’s just on balance, I support the project,” he said yesterday.
Patrick predicted Massachusetts could become a global center around alternative and renewable energy sources.
“It’s not just the wind farms. It’s the companies that build the turbines and consult on the conservation strategies and install the solar panels. It’s the whole integrated industry, which I think can have a place in Massachusetts if we steward it.”
The state is trying to lure energy companies and other firms to Massachusetts, Patrick said. His administration has already brought the 1,000 jobs of Evergreen Solar to Marlboro, he said. Another company will announce it is relocating to Massachusetts next month and initiatives are in the works for Springfield, he said. “If we stay on this course and chart it, there will be 100,000 jobs by the end of the first term,” he said.
Patrick wants to train some of the 125,000 people statewide looking for work to fill the 85,000 vacant jobs, many of them technicians and lab assistants in the biotechnology industry,.
The state is also trying to stem the tide of people and businesses leaving the state.
“MIT and Harvard may not be able to pick and move, but their graduates can and do. And our companies can and have,” said Patrick.
Also in the coming weeks, Patrick promised some new developments in public education. Two task forces – one for looking at pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and the other at higher education – are studying all aspects of education, he said. “Just what is it we’re asking our schools to do and at what level, and then what does it actually cost?”
The governor promised reforms to the education funding formula – something Cape communities have supported – and in the MCAS exams. “I think we have to ask if this is the right choice,” he said of the high-stakes exam. “You can’t resolve whether the test is right until you decide what outcome you’re trying to achieve from public education.”
Patrick declined to grade his performance over his first five months in office, but said his administration is getting beyond the missteps that plagued it initially.
It was a conversation with his mentor, President Clinton, that helped him bounce back. “You’ve got to stay on your message and keep driving toward where you want to go.”
Patrick said he’s learned that he needs to work with the press, but not at the expense of staying focused. “My predecessor was good, so good at the press avail, at the photo op. He looked great. He was really organized. And he was really good at message. I want to be much more focused on results.”
By George Brennan
Cape Cod Times
25 May 2007
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