A compelling analysis of the basis and terms of their agreement with Cape Wind was sponsored by National grid and authored by National Grid exec Richard Rapp and renowned energy economics expert Susan Tierney, PhD here. It is the case for why the deal should be allowed to go forward and they filed it with the oversight authorities for this week's hearings.
In response to the hearings, the Boston Globe featured a vigorous statement of support for the deal by PBLN member CEO George Matouk. His Fall River manufacturing plant uses 300,000 kilowatt hours a year of National Grid power, and in George's view, paying slightly higher prices for wind energy is a bargain if it means stepping up to the challenge of changing our total energy supply. In his words, “I think that the potential benefits from having more wind energy in Massachusetts, from an economic point of view, would offset [moderately higher prices in the short-term.]’’
The same article features the news that Wal Mart has come out publicly against the power purchase agreement, saying the price being too high for the number one company in the Fortune 500. Strange that such a widely recognized corporate champion for greening their business would take such an awkward stand. It is not the first time in recent memory that Wal Mart has popped up in a Massachusetts renewable energy conversation. They were rebuffed by Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles in February 2010 for failing to include any provision for renewable energy in their plans to open a new store in Salem, Massachusetts. The state has stringent requirements for new commercial construction that are part of a whole policy package intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Associated Industries of Massachusetts has ripped the Cape Wind-National Grid deal showing no interest in a long-term vision of the transition to clean energy that Cape Wind represents. They also ignore the fact that there are many companies, probably including many in their own membership who are more than happy to pay slightly higher prices in the short term in order to see the region investing in first-mover advantages in what could become a defining 21st century feature of our state's economic growth.
Look for the businesses supporting Cape Wind to try to get their views out over the din of chatter about Wal Mart. Some of them include Legal Sea Foods, Saunders Hotel Group, Millipore, Aggregate Industries, Genzyme, Grossman Marketing Group, and many more listed among the Environmental League's Corporate Council.
We won't be able to blog about Cape Wind every week forever but it does seem like a rich microcosm of the shift taking place in conventional wisdom about what is "good for business" in the 21st century economy. And it almost goes without saying that if Congress would move Senator John Kerry's American Power Act into law we can begin to see public policy and private sector innovation shape markets for renewable energy growth.Then the price of wind energy will really look good. Even without Congressional action, agency action together with a coming increase in oil and gas prices that is sure to accompany the global economic recovery will make lots of business leaders clamor for cheaper, more stable renewable energy alternatives.