Another significant portion of the Cape Wind project – due to be underwritten by taxpayers and ratepayers – will be built in Europe instead of locally, and an embittered Bay State steel maker claims that’s always been the project developer’s plan.
“Cape Wind used our intended participation to garner public support,” Mass Tank President Carl C. Horstmann wrote to U.S. Energy officials after Cape Wind developer Jim Gordon backed out of a manufacturing deal with his company. An executive at Mass Tank of Middleboro said the split came after his firm spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” learning how to build the massive steel foundations that would support Cape Wind’s turbines in all sorts of weather conditions.
Horstmann told federal energy officials – now considering a government-backed loan for the $2.6 billion project – that when he and Gordon signed a nonbinding letter of intent at a well-publicized event in 2010, he thought “we were initiating a mutually beneficial business arrangement that would pay dividends to the state and the region.
“But now I can only conclude I was wrong, and question whether Cape Wind’s commitment to Mass Tank and the local manufacturing jobs was ever made in good faith,” he wrote.
Cape Wind seeks to be the nation’s first offshore wind power project, with as many as 130 wind turbines spinning on a 25-square-mile stretch of Nantucket Sound.
Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rogers acknowledged that the project’s 140-foot-tall turbines and the 350-ton foundations would be made in Europe, but said that’s only because the U.S. doesn’t have firms with the technology and experience to build them.
Rogers said Cape Wind tried to make its Mass Tank deal work, but had to go with a firm that met their needs and budget.
Still, he insists, the project – which is in line to secure tens of millions of dollars in state funding – will benefit the state.
“Cape Wind has already spent tens of millions of dollars in the local economy hiring scientists, engineers and other specialists,” Rogers said. “Cape Wind will put hundreds of people in the region to work constructing our facility and we will create 50 permanent jobs.”
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