Patrick pushes for support of clean energy firms, despite failures
Governor Deval Patrick on Wednesday said the state must continue to support renewable energy businesses despite high profile failures of government-backed companies such as Evergreen Solar of Marlborough or California solar panel maker Solyndra LLC.
“Let me tell you that I have heard enough about Evergreen -- or Solyndra for that matter. We are not always going to score. But we are never going to score if we don’t get in the game,” Patrick said in prepared remarks. “Whether we like it or not, there are going to be winners and losers when it comes to clean energy in the 21st century ... . Make no mistake about it: I want Massachusetts to be a winner.”
Patrick spoke before a crowd of about 200 business leaders at FastCap Systems Corp., a Boston-based energy storage company that last year received up to $2.2 million from the US Department of Energy for a geothermal research project. During his speech, Patrick touted the state’s renewable energy laws and mandates, which set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as for the use of energy-saving technologies, wind turbines, and solar panels.
In addition to promoting solar and wind power, Patrick said the state should push into the technologies that can capture the power of so-called biogas, methane that is produced by the decomposition of food, yard, and other organic wastes. Biogas projects, which burn the gas to make electricity, have been built at landfills, farms, and sewage treatment plants.
“Germany is famous for its commitment to wind and solar, but the remarkable fact is that they get more renewable power from ‘biogas’ derived from food and yard waste than from wind and solar combined,” Patrick said. “ My agencies are now putting in place rules to create a similar boom in Massachusetts.”
Patrick’s proposals were applauded by the Alliance for Business Leadership, a non-partisan group of executives and investors in Boston.
“Business knows that expanding our renewable domestic energy supply is great for the economy,” the Alliance said in a statement.
But Bob Rio, a spokesman for another business group, Associated Industries of Massachusetts ,said government should avoid targeting support to specific industries.
“AIM’s goal is to advocate for policies that create economic gains for all sectors of the economy and not pick winners and losers,” Rio said. “Long term this is a more sustainable strategy for Massachusetts.”
Erin Ailworth can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.