CENTERVILLE – On the shores of Craigville Beach, with sun-drenched Nantucket Sound as a backdrop, 10th Congressional District candidate state Rep. Jeffrey Perry said Friday the proposed Cape Wind project is a “job killer.”
Citing the signing Wednesday of the federal lease of the off-shore site as a subsidy for a private developer and the cost of electricity that will be generated by the 130 wind turbines, Perry said he would use the bully pulpit as a congressman to fight it.
“I will do whatever I can do to make sure this project does not go forward,” Perry said, with members of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound holding anti-wind farm signs nearby.
Perry’s position on Cape Wind is in sharp contrast to his Democratic opponent, William Keating, who started out the campaign opposed to the wind farm but now supports it. In a meeting with the Times editorial board earlier this week, the Norfolk County district attorney said he initially opposed Cape Wind because of computer images that depicted what it might look like. But his position on the Cape Wind project didn’t jibe with his stump speeches on the need to get away from the country’s dependence on oil, he said.
“I kept listening to myself in these speeches,” Keating said. “It was not reconciling.”
Cape Wind and other renewable energy projects, along with Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Woods Hole research institutions, provide the possibility for Cape Cod to become a leader in green jobs, Keating said.
“Short term, it’s going to provide jobs, and long term, it’s going to help too,” he said.
Perry charged Friday that Cape Wind would be a drain on the economy. Electricity for a small grocery store would increase $500 per month if the state Department of Public Utilities gives the wind farm the green light, he said.
“That’s a job killer,” Perry said.
Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for Cape Wind, said the project is expected to create 600 to 1,000 construction jobs and, eventually, 50 permanent jobs on Cape Cod.
“It’s sad that on the same day the Department of Energy announced that offshore wind power can create 43,000 American jobs over the next 20 years, with the first of these jobs being right here on Cape Cod, that Jeff Perry would stand on a beach and say ‘no’,” Rodgers said.
Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said the $6 billion price tag for Cape Wind would put a burden on ratepayers already paying the fourth highest electric rates in the country.
National Grid, which has cut a proposed deal for half of the wind farm’s power, has estimated that electric rates would increase by 2 percent once Cape Wind became operational. On Cape Cod, only Nantucket gets its electricity through National Grid.
Cape Wind has received federal approval but there are some lawsuits pending.
Perry said a congressman can use federal clout to block the project.
“Sen. (Edward) Kennedy certainly couldn’t vote on this issue, but part of his legacy, I believe, is that he was always adamantly against this, and he used the power of his office to articulate his reasons why,” Perry said. “I would like to pick up where Sen. Kennedy left off and be the voice of the 10th Congressional District in opposition to this.”