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Business groups run ads against Cape Wind  

Credit:  BY: Andy Metzger | May 23, 2013 | STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE | www.commonwealthmagazine.org ~~

As Cape Wind seeks federal loan guarantees for its offshore wind turbine project, two powerful Massachusetts business groups attempted to take the air out of its sails with full-page ads in three Massachusetts newspapers Thursday.

“Our group is about job-creation and competitiveness. It’s not about Cape Wind, per se. It’s about electricity costs and the impact they’ll have on job loss in the Commonwealth,” Massachusetts Competitive Partnership President (MACP) Dan O’Connell told the News Service Thursday afternoon. “We’re very supportive of clean energy. Our members are leaders in energy conservation and deployment of cost-effective clean energy. We support land-based wind, which is less than half the cost of what Cape Wind is going to be.”

MACP and the Associated Industries of Massachusetts took out full-page color ads in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Cape Cod Times depicting a grassy shore with words of warning laid across the clear blue sky and the phone numbers for members of the state’s congressional delegation.

The ad claimed many of the jobs associated with the project would be outsourced, putting in question the estimate of 600 to 1,000 jobs, and said it would make Massachusetts’ energy costs – which are already double those in North Carolina and Texas – even less competitive with those states. The ad opens by saying Bay State businesses can’t afford Cape Wind and closes saying the project “does not make sense.”

CommonWealth interviewed Cape Wind’s Jim Gordon and his chief opponent Bill Koch for a recent article, an article that analyzed the costs of the project.

“AIM’s been pretty relentlessly anti-Cape Wind for a long time now, and I think the Competitive Partnership has been, too – more behind the scenes,” Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers told the News Service. “What was a surprise was that they waste money on these ads at this juncture. Cape Wind has been under close review for over 10 years, and we have all of our approvals and we’re moving forward.”

Rodgers rejected the notion that the offshore wind project, which he said would increase electrical bills by about 1 or 2 percent, would make the state less competitive.

“The only way Massachusetts can be competitive in the long run is to be innovative and tap its own energy resources, like offshore wind, and it has an opportunity with Cape Wind to be a leader in the country in doing that,” Rodgers said. “You’re not going to be able to be competitive in the long-run as an energy importer, which is what we are now. We don’t have any of our own coal or oil or natural gas.”

O’Connell, a former cabinet member in the pro-Cape Wind Patrick administration, said cheaper power alternatives include hydroelectric power from Canada, wind from Maine, and natural gas, which is extracted as close as New York and Pennsylvania.

While the permits for the Cape Wind project are in place, the project still faces some hurdles financially and in court. For example, the project is seeking federal loan guarantees and courting investors. It also faces a number of court challenges.

O’Connell initially said there was “unanimous consensus” to oppose Cape Wind from the board members, which include executives from Suffolk Construction, Northeast Utilities, Raytheon, Liberty Mutual, Partners Healthcare and other major Bay State corporations. O’Connell later clarified that Tom May, president and CEO of Northeast Utilities, “abstained.” State regulators approved a merger between Northeast Utilities and NStar last year after NStar agreed to purchase 27.5 percent of Cape Wind’s power.

In a statement, Audra Parker, president and CEO of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, said that the ad “is clearly the beginning of the end for Cape Wind.” Parker added: “John Fish, Jack Connors, Bob Kraft and the CEOs of companies like EMC, Raytheon, Staples, and Partners – the state’s leading civic leaders and biggest employers – are saying today that Cape Wind will send jobs overseas, cost us millions unnecessarily, and drive away potential new employers. Most tellingly, the CEO of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR, Tom May, is a leading board member of this group that is saying ‘no’ to this wasteful project. It is time that political leaders joined these civic and business leaders in telling Cape Wind to pull the plug.”

Source:  BY: Andy Metzger | May 23, 2013 | STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE | www.commonwealthmagazine.org

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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