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Opponents blast Cape Wind guru over gas plant

The man at the heart of a plan to generate renewable energy by erecting wind turbines on Nantucket Sound is also building a natural gas plant in Western Massachusetts, where opponents are calling him an environmental hypocrite.

“It’s our belief Jim Gordon is playing two games here. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth,” said 69-year-old Mary Ann Babinski, who walked 100 miles from the site of the proposed Westfield plant to Gordon’s Boston office last week to deliver a petition with more than 1,000 signatures of opponents. “We don’t believe clean energy comes from a smoke stack. If he was truly green, he wouldn’t even be considering building a fossil fuel plant.”

Gordon is founder of Energy Management Inc., the parent company of Pioneer Valley Energy Center, which is planning to begin construction on the 431-megawatt plant next fall. He is also the developer of Cape Wind, a controversial $2.5 billion plan to build 130 wind turbines on 25 miles of Nantucket Sound, starting in 2014.

Calls to Energy Management were referred to Matt Palmer, the manager of the Westfield project.

Palmer said the Westfield plant is fully permitted and has the support of local officials, adding that it will create up to 300 temporary construction jobs, and another 15 to 20 permanent, full-time jobs.

“Right now, we don’t have the practical ability to supply all of our energy with only renewable sources,” Palmer told the Herald. “We will some day. In the meantime, rather than let the lights go out, it would make sense to build the cleanest, most efficient-fueled power plant in all of New England.”