Governor Deval L. Patrick
7th Annual Conference on Clean Energy
Westin Waterfront, Boston
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Good afternoon and thank you, Pat, for the warm introduction. Our clean energy initiatives created Pat’s position as head of the Clean Energy Center, and he is doing a superb job.
Happy Clean Energy Week!
When I first addressed this conference back in 2007, I spoke about our vision for a clean energy future. I made a commitment to grow the clean energy sector in the Commonwealth because I believe that we are better positioned than any other state in the country to capitalize on the good jobs, long-term economic growth and cleaner environment that come from growing a vibrant clean energy sector. Our concentration of brainpower, research institutions and venture capital, our well-educated work force, our entrepreneurial traditions make us uniquely suited to lead the nation in clean energy. So we set out to create an energy agenda that would do just that.
With the support of the Legislature, I signed into law a package of reform legislation that has catalyzed significant growth in the sector – growing renewable energy, sparking development of new technologies, addressing climate change, and unleashing the potential of energy efficiency. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center works to accelerate that job growth and economic development. Our Green Communities Act empowers the Commonwealth’s cities and towns to reduce energy use. And the Global Warming Solutions Act establishes goals to address climate change. We have developed a nation-leading clean energy agenda because it is the right thing to do for our environment, our energy independence and our public health. And we made a bet that it would also be an economic engine with enough untapped potential to revive our economy.
And now as we sustain that strategy in the second term, I am proud to report that it’s working. Massachusetts ranks number one in America in energy efficiency because we are investing more per capita in efficiency measures today than any other state.
We are on course to reach the most ambitious targets in the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 – and have adopted a Clean Energy and Climate Plan comprising cost-effective policies and programs to help reach that target, working with our public utilities and local communities.
As anticipated, all this is growing a whole new industry in Massachusetts. According to October’s Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry report, jobs in the clean tech sector grew at a rate of 6.7 percent last year and will grow at more than double that rate through next year. We have a large, diverse and growing clean energy sector with almost 5,000 companies and 64,000 workers. Solar energy installments have increased nearly 30-fold since 2007 and wind energy installments have increased by 10-fold.
I visited a company called Next Step Living recently, an energy efficiency company not far from here that uses some really innovative strategies to save households and businesses on their energy costs. Since 2008, the company has grown from 20 employees to over 210 and they credit a lot of that growth to what we’re doing in Massachusetts to cultivate this sector.
In Massachusetts today we are growing jobs faster than many other states and growing our economy more than twice as fast as the national growth rate. Our unemployment rate is well below the national average and going down, and we are coming out of recession faster than most of the rest of the country. In fact, the Brookings Institute ranks Boston, Worcester and Springfield among the top 20 cities in the country for recovery performance. Our clean energy investments are vital to these results.
For those of you thinking about starting up or expanding a clean energy business, this is a smart place to do it. Massachusetts ranks in the top two states in the nation for total clean tech venture capital investment. We are rank sixth on the CNBC poll for best places in America to do business. All this is great news for companies looking to expand or make Massachusetts their new “home away from home.”
We still have challenges. In this region, where the cost of power is high, we still have work to do make the cost of alternative generation more affordable. We will have to meet and adjust to change in the economics that lower natural gas prices temporarily present. In some ways, making clean and alternative energy, and energy efficiency, fully integrated elements of our energy portfolio is still a work in progress in the plans and in the minds of business leaders here.
But this is worthy work. Because the rest of the world is moving boldly in this direction, and here in the Commonwealth we have the tools to compete in that global marketplace: the talent, the know-how, the uniquely skilled workforce, the top-notch educational institutions. So we will compete for every job, in every industry, in every corner of the Commonwealth, and the world. Through targeted investments and partnerships between state and local government and the private sector, we will continue to grow the clean energy industry in Massachusetts. We may lead the nation, but leading the world is where we’re headed.
I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in a few short years, and I’m really excited about where we’re going. I thank all of you for your partnership. Enjoy the rest of the conference.