BOSTON (CBS) – With new fears about fuel prices and a sputtering economy, is there any glimmer of optimism here in Massachusetts? All this week meteorologist Todd Gutner is exploring nature and he sat down with Gov. Deval Patrick to talk about the importance of renewable energy to the Massachusetts economy.
“Bringing the technological capability that is here in the Commonwealth to bear on solving that question of energy independence has been a great, big economic pick up for us,” says Gov. Patrick, who has made renewable energy one of the cornerstones of his administration.
WBZ-TV Chief Meteorologist Todd Gutner reports:
“We’ve seen a 20 fold plus increase in wind and solar generation, a 60% increase in employment in the clean tech field, and that’s during the worst economy in living memory,” he says.
A new, massive wind turbine testing facility just opened in Charlestown. Gov. Patrick points to it as one example of government support that creates jobs. But there are also failures, like Evergreen Solar sending its’ manufacturing overseas despite Mass. taxpayer support for the company.
In light of that, Todd asked the Governor whether it’s still appropriate to use tax dollars to help private business.
“You’re not going to win every one, but you’re not going to win anything if you don’t play,” he answered.
“We are competing with other states and other countries to create a center here in Massachusetts for the clean tech economy, and there are things we can do, and try to do wisely in every case, to encourage that,” he adds.
WBZ-TV Chief Meteorologist Todd Gutner speaks with Brockton Mayor
Whether you support it or not, the planned Cape Wind project is historic, and important to the state.
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“The notion that the first commercial off shore wind project in the whole country is going to be right here in Massachusetts, and all the economic follow on that comes from that, is enormously important,” says Patrick.
And with the recent upheaval in the Middle East creating volatility in energy markets, the governor sees local clean tech as the way to go.
“Imagine having a future where we are independent of all that. Where we control the generation. This is a long term play. It’s about making the kinds of judgments right now that are going to leave a better and stronger Commonwealth out into the future,” he says.