Governor Patrick touts wind farm job benefits


State House News Service

Under fire from campaign rivals who are pointing to the high costs of the Cape Wind project and its energy, Gov. Deval Patrick on Wednesday pointed to jobs the project will produce, announcing that a company based in Middleborough will make the foundations for the giant wind turbines planned for Nantucket Sound. Mass Tank Sales Corporation, a manufacturer of steel storage tanks, will make the foundations and other metalwork involved with the project as part of a partnership with the EEW Group of Germany. According to Patrick, Mass Tank will create more than 100 jobs and its manufacturing facility would become a major supplier to offshore wind projects along the East Coast. Siemens is already under contract to provide the project’s turbines.

The announcement came as the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, which opposes the project, released results of a poll of National Grid ratepayers conducted by Bernett Research. The poll found 70 percent of respondents, once apprised of the increase in electric bills associated with the project, said they opposed the project and recommended that the state reject the proposed contract. Eighty-one percent of respondents said Gov. Patrick should force the contract to be re-bid to ensure competitive prices and nearly half of respondents stated a gubernatorial candidate’s position on Cape Wind would affect their vote on Nov. 2.

The poll also showed that 63 percent of respondents believe the project would either lower their bills or leave them unchanged. “The propaganda campaign of the governor’s office and Cape Wind continues to work,” said Christy Mihos, a project opponent.

The poll was based on phone interviews with 300 National Grid ratepayers from communities across the state and was conducted Oct. 6 through Oct. 9, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. According to the alliance, Cape Wind power would start at 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour, or 230 percent over current market rates, with costs rising to over 30 cents per kilowatt hour over the course of the contract. Patrick claims comparably low natural gas prices are volatile and maintains the project represents a significant step for the state and the nation away from the use of fossil fuels.