New Offshore Wind Project Proposed for Massachusetts

Despite an atmosphere of outright hostility toward offshore wind projects off the coast of Massachusetts, a second offshore wind bid was unveiled this week.

According to reporting from the Massachusetts newspaper, the Standard-Times, a new 300 MW proposal is under consideration by Patriot Renewables LLC — a renewable energy subsidiary of Jay Cashman Inc. The project would be located in Buzzards Bay, and split into three different sections, all in state waters. The general location is due west and farther toward the mainland than another well-known offshore wind proposal, the Cape Wind project. The Cape Wind offshore wind power proposal has been in the planning and permitting stages for five years and has stirred up strong sentiments for and against wind power development in Massachusetts and beyond. Despite years of planning and permitting work, the Cape Wind project may face its undoing if Congress approves an amendment to a “must-pass” Coast Guard bill. The measure would give Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney veto power over the project. Given the power to do so, the Governor is widely expected to scuttle the project. These trying times for Cape Wind make this new proposal from Patriot Renewables all the more interesting. The Standard-Times asked Jay Cashman, president of Jay Cashman Inc. the parent company of Patriot Renewables, if he fears similar opposition from the Governor and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. Cashman responded saying he expects the politicians to look at the project fairly and that “it’ll be interesting to see how they react.” In addition to Gov. Romney, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., has been perhaps the strongest opponent to the Cape Wind project, which would be within view of the influential Senator’s home off the coast of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe revealed a few weeks prior that Sen. Kennedy played a key role in crafting the legislative amendment in the Coast Guard Bill that could ultimately be Cape Wind’s undoing. Since the initial reporting by the Standard-Times on Tuesday of this week, the Associated Press has since contacted both Gov. Romney and Sen. Kennedy’s offices, and both reacted in a cautionary manner. Gov. Mitt Romney’s communications director Eric Fehrnstrom called the project “intriguing” and a statement from Sen. Kennedy said he hopes “the proposal will start a thoughtful discussion in Massachusetts about which state waters are appropriate for alternative energy development” and added that the approval process should include “close attention to the interests of the communities most directly affected by the project.” Jay Cashman expressed an interest in his contracting firm, the parent company of Patriot Renewables, to undertake construction of the project. Jay Cashman Inc. recently helped erect a single commercial-scale 600 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Solar Design Associates, of Harvard, Massachusetts, was the project designer and developer. That company’s president, Steven Strong, says Cashman is perfectly suited to undertake this larger wind project but that just getting to the construction phase may be the hardest part. “Cashman certainly has the construction capability to do the offshore wind farm with their marine division,” Strong said. “I doubt it will be smooth sailing in terms of approvals but I am glad to see them enter the fray. The more the merrier from my standpoint.”
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