U.S. Sen. Scott Brown yesterday expressed reservations about a proposal for huge offshore wind farms south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, questioning whether the costs are too high and whether there’s enough local support.
The Patrick administration and U.S. Interior Department recently announced tentative plans to seek bids from developers to build wind turbines in 3,000 square miles of federal waters south of the two islands – in addition to the controversial Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound.
Brown said he’s “not against (the idea) per se” of additional offshore wind farms.
But Brown, who opposes Cape Wind, said he’s “absolutely” concerned about the price of offshore-wind electricity, which can cost substantially more than electricity generated from land-based wind farms and fossil fuels.
“Only in certain circles does the fact you’re going to potentially pay two to three times more than you’re paying now make sense,” said Brown in an interview with the Herald. “Where are the savings? What are the costs?”
He said business exectives he’d talked to constantly complain about the high cost of energy in Massachusetts.
As for local support, Brown questioned whether more offshore wind farms would “circumvent local authority.”
“There’s a lot more they should be doing to work with local authorities,” he said.
Bob Keough, a spokesman for Gov. Deval Patrick, shot back that the administration and federal government went out of their way to consult with local groups before recommending more offshore wind farms. He said a task force was established that included local lawmakers and development-commission members – and multiple meetings were held.
“The state will ensure continued public participation and thorough environmental review before any energy projects are approved,” Keough said in a statement.
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