Cape Wind’s new foes
After years of sitting on the fence, the state’s top CEOs came out against Cape Wind yesterday in a series of full-page newspaper ads in the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Cape Cod Times.
The Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a coalition of 16 corporate chieftains, joined long-time Cape Wind foe Associated Industries of Massachusetts in saying the proposed wind farm “does not make sense.” The two business groups say the wind farm will yield few local jobs along with high-priced power that will put the state at a “severe competitive disadvantage.”
Those arguments are nothing new. What is new is who was making them. The Competitive Partnership includes the heads of some of the biggest and most connected companies in Massachusetts, including Fidelity Investments, Partners HealthCare, Raytheon Corp., Suffolk Construction, State Street Corporation, Liberty Mutual, Mass Mutual, EMC Corp., the Kraft Group, Bank of America, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Staples, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Putnam Investments. The president of the partnership is Dan O’Connell, a former economic development cabinet secretary under Gov. Deval Patrick, Cape Wind’s chief political sponsor.
Northeast Utilities, which agreed to buy Cape Wind power in order to secure Patrick’s approval for a corporate merger, is also a member of the partnership, but partnership officials say Tom May, the company’s CEO, abstained from voting on the ad buys. May has never thought much of Cape Wind, but he’s keeping his mouth shut. NECN quotes a company spokeswoman as saying Northeast Utilities disagrees with the views of the other companies in the Competitive Partnership.
Cape Wind has all the state and federal approvals it needs as well as buyers for 77.5 percent of the power output. The proposed wind farm is still battling a handful of court challenges in Washington and trying to find investors willing to front the capital for the project. To help in that effort, it has asked the federal government for several hundred million dollars worth of loan guarantees.
The business group ads are unlikely to have any practical effect on Cape Wind, but they are another sign that opposition to the project is no longer confined to billionaire businessman Bill Koch and other Cape Cod landowners who don’t want to look at wind turbines from their waterfront homes. The opposition now includes the heads of the most influential corporations in the state.
— BRUCE MOHL
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