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Cape Wind is an historic opportunity

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.”
The Alliance for Business Leadership is an enthusiastic supporter of Cape Wind

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.

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 in Cape Wind the chance to become a global leader in renewable energy. The Bay State has become the global leader in the life sciences through shrewd choices and smartly focused work and now through similar choices and hard work the Bay State is now 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. Which is an employment base growing at a remarkable 11.2% annual rate. 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 badly as only 33rd among states in the growing market for installed wind energy.

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 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. A large relatively high-skill, high-paid workforce 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.

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 are currently being invested in New Bedford in anticipation of Cape Wind to modernize that 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.

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