Cape Wind is an Historic Opportunity

The Alliance for Business Leadership is a Bay State based non-profit public affairs community for CEOs, Investors and Entrepreneurs committed to greater social and environmental responsibility.  More than 150 founders, CEOs, and managing principals of Massachusetts companies – the vast majority of which work outside of the Bay State’s burgeoning clean tech industry but including many of the state’s fastest growing companies large and small – participate in our Alliance. And the Alliance for Business Leadership is an enthusiastic supporter of Cape Wind

Since John Winthrop first articulated it through John Adams and then John Kennedy’s brilliant echoing of Winthrop, our Commonwealth has always strived to be a “city on a hill.”  In modern parlance to be a “city on a hill” is to be a “global leader” and through centuries of innovation Massachusetts has become a global leader in the emerging global knowledge economy across sectors.   

George Matouk, CEO, John Matouk & Co., Inc.

Alliance Leader George Matouk notes, “As a Fall River manufacturing CEO proud to work with 90 Bay State employees, I am confident Cape Wind will be good for business and for the long term health of the MA economy”. That is a notion many Alliance Leaders in the innovation economy wholeheartedly support.

Susan Labandibar, Founder & CEO, Tech Networks of Boston

Alliance Leader Susan Labandibar states, “As the Founder & CEO of Tech Networks, a technology firm that has grown quickly in Greater Boston, I know I am one of hundreds of growth economy leaders in the Bay State who recognize Cape Wind as great for our regional economy and our environment.”

From the example of John Adam’s written constitution, to America’s first public school, first public library, first subway, the first computer, the first telephone, the first mutual fund, to mapping the human genome – fired by a bold desire to lead – Massachusetts greatest strength has been in creating innovations that scale.  At the end of the national energy pipeline and challenged by a lack of commercial mining, fossil fuels or large scale hydro and tempered by often harsh weather, Massachusetts has had to innovate to lead. 

Cape Wind provides another opportunity for the Bay State to innovate and lead.  As university educated people the world-over come to recognize the existential challenge posed by carbon pollution and as Cape Cod itself is reshaped by climate change,  Massachusetts has a chance through Cape Wind to become a global leader in renewable energy.  The Bay State has become the global leader in the life sciences through hard choices (like the Bay State’s 2008 billion dollar bond to support Life Sciences) and smartly focused work and now through similarly shrewd choices and focused work the Bay State has become second only to California in the nation’s growing clean tech industry according to San Francisco’s based Clean Edge’s annual rankings.

Massachusetts now beats California in attracting venture capital for what the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Mass CEC) scores as the state’s 4,995 clean tech firms and 72,000 clean tech workers.  That is a clean tech employment base that is growing at a remarkable 11.2% annually.  According to Clean Edge, Massachusetts now attracts $75.94 per capita in venture capital for clean tech compared to $58.50 per capita in California.  Although the Bay State now trails California and many others as only 33rd among states in the booming market for installed wind energy. The Economist reports that $25 Billion in private capital was invested in U.S. Wind in 2012 and a record 6,700 turbines were installed to bring wind to 3.5% of our nation’s electricity supply – a figure the U.S. Department of Energy expects to rise exponentially.  

Cape Wind is an Opportunity for the Bay State to Seize National Leadership in Off-shore Wind

Cape Wind presents the opportunity to extend our rapidly growing leadership in clean tech through-out the skills spectrum to industrial scale renewable energy and to wind energy in particular.   As the first major wind farm in the U.S., Cape Wind provides Massachusetts the opportunity to become: (a) a major producer of energy; (b) the leader in domestically produced, stable energy that America’s strategic interests require; and, (c) the leader in a potentially huge (and certainly large) new national off-shore wind industry.  An industry that is has begun to mature in  Europe with more than 55 industrial off-shore wind farms operational that have prompted the employment of tens of thousands in ports around the North Sea.  That off-shore wind workforce is relatively high-skill and high-paid and it is expected to grow by 170,000 over just the next seven years, according to Hannah Wood of Cape Wind, as published recently in the Cape Cod Times.

Blades awaited installation in Denmark. (Photo credit: Derrick Z. Jackson/Boston Globe Staff)

 

Proposed view of Cape Wind park from Cotuit, MA (5.6 miles away)

Industrial Scale Off-Shore Wind has Created Tens of Thousands of High-Skill/High Wage Jobs

Bremerhaven, Germany is a port city not unlike New Bedford MA.  After the close of the U.S. naval base in Bremerhaven after the Cold War, it experienced a staggering 25% unemployment.  Off-shore wind has revitalized that port region prompting the hiring of more than 10,000 and plans to hire 30,000 more.  Meanwhile, $100 million is currently being invested in New Bedford in anticipation of Cape Wind to modernize that port city recently challenged by Bremerhaven like unemployment and all the stunning attendant costs – both human and commercial. 

Cape Wind provides the Massachusetts business community the chance to go beyond the energy efficiency it is beginning to lead in and stop exporting more than 20 billion dollars annually to buy power out of state.  It will make Massachusetts a major energy producer and help power the Cape and Islands as Bay State businesses gain world leading expertise and demonstrate to tens of thousands of influential visitors from around the world each year that Massachusetts business leads the world in innovations that scale.  And leads the world in two of the globe’s fastest growing industries: health care and far healthier, inexhaustible energy.  

For all these reasons, The Alliance for Business Leadership recognizes Cape Wind as an historic opportunity for Massachusetts to seize global leadership in a burgeoning new industry our world needs. 

 - Roger M. Freeman, Managing Principal, Solventerra and Erica H. Levy, Program Director, The Alliance for Business Leadership, contributed to this article.

  • vacmancan

    Guys this is what I have to say on Cape Wind!! Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97YDoVy7wd8

  • Colin

    Thank you for a terrific, optimistic-yet-realistic view into so many of the potential benefits of Massachusetts offshore wind. New Bedford’s comparison to Bremerhaven is spot-on and I look forward to a future where Massachusetts citizens, businessmen and politicians act as global leaders in sustainable power production.

  • Morgan

    I’m excited to see The Alliance for Business Leadership’s public support for Cape Wind. The Alliance for Business Leadership highlights the effectiveness of the job creation and economic gain that will occur due to the renewable wind energy emerging with Cape Wind in New England and the United States. The Cape Wind project is not only one of economic gain but also allows Massachusetts to be the first state in the U.S. to employ the renewable wind industry and reap the vast proven environmental gains from such an endeavor (proven by the several countries who are already making use of this technology). The Alliance for Business Leadership’s support is of great help to this hopeful reality. Again, I commend this support, and I urge other non-profit organizations as well as other actors to publicly express their support for Cape Wind.

  • Christopher Liptak

    As an executive, Massachusetts native and part-time Cape
    Cod resident I’m pleased to see New England business coalitions getting behind
    the Cape Wind initiative. Throughout its history, Massachusetts has consistently
    been ahead of the pack with innovations in manufacturing, information systems,
    biotechnology and, now green energy. Forward leaning projects in
    Massachusetts like Cape Wind will not just provide clean, renewable energy, but
    have the potential to open up new industries that bring jobs and economic
    development. I applaud Cape Wind both for what it will bring in terms of clean
    energy to the region – an area dependent on aging coal and nuclear
    infrastructure – but also for launching a cutting edge industry in Southern New
    England.

  • Perrin Krisko

    Great things start in Massachusetts! As we usually see, however, at the beginning of a new solution or movement, for instance “John Adam’s written constitution, America’s first public school…” and so on, history unfailingly acquaints its fair share of naysayers. Cape Wind leads in Massachusetts’ up-and-coming “great” energy industry, it would be most curious if no one opposed Cape Wind’s mission. All the same, opposition to Cape Wind has not stopped the winds from blowing; in fact, the longer we halt, the stronger we see winds gust each year. Critics of Cape Wind have fueled an ever more clear and promising route for Cape Wind as visionaries for alternative energy take strides to provide clean, affordable, local energy and jobs that may benefit residents of Cape Cod as well as introduce technology that could innovate America. As fellow supporters for Cape Wind, you did an outstanding job of playing “good cop” in the Cape Wind debate that has defined the past decade of alternative energy; your optimism and knowledge was refreshing and motivating. However, I will play “bad cop.” The time of settling is over, critics can no longer delay Massachusetts from moving forward to lead in an era of greatness. For all the reasons you provided, the time is now for Cape Wind to assure greatness in America.

  • Elizabeth

    I am glad to see that The Alliance for Business Leadership is supporting Cape Wind. Massachusetts has a wonderful opportunity in Cape Wind, to get it’s teeth into the renewable energy sector which will inevitably play a large role in America’s economy in the coming years. Committing to renewable energy is a frightening concept; it means that we must see businesses in a new light, and find the balance between profitability and sustainability. However rather than shy away from this opportunity, we should embrace the chance that Massachusetts has to be at the forefront of it.

  • Jill M.

    As a strong supporter of wind energy, I find it very invigorating to see such enthusiastic support from businesses all over the state. The precedent that will be set is with this project is crucial to our energy future. Thinking about the time lost already in lawsuits from those who oppose the project is almost frightening. It has an all too real price in terms of our climate, our economy and our energy security. Take thirteen years off of your current age and that is when this project could have been underway. Time waits for no one, right? But time is what is necessary, sometimes, to educate, inform and absorb change.

    How refreshing to see some unity and support from your alliance! I think that these ‘fans’ (as my Dad calls them!) will become a beacon for change and help change the perceived insidiousness of the turbines from uncomfortable to remarkable.