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Gov. Deval Patrick Confronts Questions on Wind Project « The Washington Independent

In Massachusetts, Cape Wind, a proposed wind energy project off the state’s coast, is becoming an issue in Gov. Deval Patrick’s (D) reelection bid. Wind advocates hope Cape Wind will be the first such project built in the United States, but for many in Massachusetts, the project has long become a source of frustration.

Critics point to years-long delays (it took nine years to permit the project and minor permits still need to be obtained), soaring costs (some estimates put the cost at $2 billion) and the potential for offshore wind energy to raise electricity rates for some state residents.

Now — according to The Patriot Ledger, based in Quincy, Mass. — Gov. Deval Patrick, a long-time proponent of the project, is coming face to face with that frustration in his reelection bid.

Patrick is facing questions about a pending 15-year contract with Natural Grid to sell some of the power from the project. According to the Ledger:

The contract came up repeatedly in Monday’s gubernatorial debate. Republican Charlie Baker and independent Tim Cahill took Patrick to task for the project’s newfound costs and the fact Cape Wind didn’t need to bid against other developers. Even Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein, the only one of the four who owns a hybrid car, chastised Patrick for Cape Wind’s potential impact on ratepayers.

In many ways the Cape Wind project is a test case for whether offshore wind is viable in this country. The Northeast, which has little capacity for onshore wind, is banking on Cape Wind to help meet future renewable energy mandates. If offshore wind does not prove viable (because of high costs and permitting delays), the region might be forced to import wind energy from the Midwest on expensive high-powered electric lines.

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