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.
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.
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.
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.