Governor Deval L. Patrick
Governor Patrick Addresses Clean Energy Council
October 30, 2007
As Delivered


I am glad to be with you on your third annual conference on clean energy and I am especially glad to be present at the very first workforce development summit of the New England Clean Energy Council.

The council, as I think you all know, is a new organization. In June, we convened clean energy executives and entrepreneurs and called on you to get organized, and to form a trade association much like those of your counterparts in the life sciences and the technology sectors, and you got right to work and launched the council. I'm delighted to see how far you've come in just the first few months, it's very important. We ask you to organize because we recognize both the special challenges and the enormous opportunities in front of us today.

Climate change is one of the great challenges facing human kind. The dwindling supply of oil and gas supplies world-wide is real. I tell you that not from just a purely academic point of view, I used to work in what we call the Texaco oil "bidness". And the volatility of foreign sources of oil and gas I well documented as is the dwindling supply of reserves. The entry of China, and to some extent India into the world marketplace as consumers is unlike any phenomenon in economic history. We're facing a global energy challenge with some very very scary ramifications for us and the generations behind us if we don't step up and take action right now. It touches our environmental stability, our potential for economic growth, and our national security. But where others see a reason to panic, I see possibility. With your help and our partnership, I believe we cant turn the moment into an opportunity to create jobs, to drive energy costs down, and to be responsible environmental stewards.

Clean technology is on the verge of becoming the tenth largest industry group in the Commonwealth and is growing at three times the rate of other industries. Massachusetts is already the home of some 556 companies and 14,400 jobs in the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the clean energy consulting businesses. Our clean energy cluster attracted more than 250 million dollars in venture capital last year, the second highest destination for v.c. and clean tech in the country. And we are already on course this year to shatter that record. Cambridge-based Greatpoint Energy, a company developing innovative technologies to convert coal and bio-mass into clean-burning natural gas, saw 100 million dollar infusion of capital, the largest in the country just this last quarter. Greatpoint announced plans last week to partner with Demenian Energy to build an innovative demonstration natural gas conversion facility on the grounds of Demenian's coal fire facility at Brighton Point in Somerset.

This year, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President, and I have been able to set a significant but I believe achievable goal of meeting all future-load growth through energy efficiency rather than additional power generation as Brad said by 2010. If we continue to play to our strengths, our concentration of brain power and venture capital and entrepreneurial spirit and tradition, we can make Massachusetts a global center in clean technology and that's good news for our environment and good news for our economy as well. We have the potential to extend our reach in the international clean energy market making the world our customer. To contend with their explosive growth China, as you may know, is building on average two new power plants every week. Most of those are traditional coal fire plants that continue to pour toxic emissions into the air. Or nuclear plants that raise a whole host of disposal issues. In growing recognition of those downloads, China has put in place ambitious plans to transition to clean energy.

The government's recent five year plan places energy as a top priority. Chinese officials want clean energy to be a key component of the 2008 Olympics, they've come to visit with us here in Boston on that subject. China wants to have 20% of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. Shang Hai has announced plans to build offshore wind energy facilities and Beijing has vowed to raise the share in renewable energy in its total consumption from 1 to 4 % by 2010. All that adds up to new markets for clean technology companies, new opportunities for you. Several companies represented here today will be joining me to explore these possibilities on a trade mission we intend to take in December and we look forward to that. We see similar trends in India, pockets of Africa, and places like the United Arab Emeritus.

These are regions that need your innovations to mitigate the impacts of growth, and create a foundation for sustainable prosperity and social stability. You can show foreign consumers as well as ones right here at home we don't have to choose between economic development and environment stewardship. Clean energy, I believe, must be a part of how we sharpen our competitive edge here at home as well. Every state in the nation is facing daunting challenges in energy costs and environmental quality.

Oil prices as Brad said, hit $ 94 a barrel last week, which means they're up $2 since this was drafted. It says 92 in my draft. And they don't show any signs of coming down soon. Massachusetts residents and businesses are spending nearly 20 billion dollars on energy, most of which comes from outside of the Commonwealth. A steady supply of clean, cost-effective, energy, allows us to attract businesses and homeowners looking for an alternative to steadily increasingly home heating fuel prices.

We want to partner with you, that's my message. We know that businesses not governments create jobs, but we also know government has a role to play in creating the conditions to attract your innovation and your job investment, your business investment and job growth. Clean energy, just like our life sciences industry can benefit from the support of state government, not just financial incentives, to help you locate and expand here, but in state policies that make Massachusetts a good place to do business, and we are open to your ideas.

Our department of public utilities as Ian may have mentioned when he was here yesterday is now investigating changes in utility rate structure in what he describes to me as de-coupling. To create an economic incentive for energy efficiency and to align the interest of utilities with our own in implementing clean energy technologies.

Secretary Bowles and I are working with the legislature on a bill to maximize cost-effective energy efficiency and promote renewable energy. We're also talking with legislative leaders about ways to promote the use of bio-fuels in the Commonwealth, we may have some news on that within the week. We have set a state-wide goal of increasing installed sola power from less than 4 megawatts today to 250 megawatts by 2017, that commitment was a key element by the way in convincing Evergreen Solar to locate it's first full-scale manufacturing plant in Devens Massachusetts.

We recently won a nationally competitive bid to post one of two wind-technology testing centers to test large scale wind-turbine blades, which will make Massachusetts a hub for wind technology and engineering and we must have Cape Wind. We must have Cape Wind. It's important on its own merits. But it is also an important symbol of the kind of economy we can build here in Massachusetts and I know it is a complicated judgment. I know there are sound and persuasive for some, arguments on the other side of that question. But on balance, I believe Cape Wind is good for Massachusetts, for our economy, for our environment. And we are the first state in the nation, the very first, to include greenhouse gasses emissions analysis and commitments in our environmental review process.

In the first large project to apply this process, Harvard took a leadership step voluntarily I should say, by committing to aggressive emissions reduction goals in its new Alston campus development plans. As secretary Bump made clear for those of you who participated in the Workforce Development discussions this morning, we recognize the needs that you have for skilled labor and are focused on growing an even stronger home-grown talent pool from which you can choose.

We want to grow every segment of this industry, from research, development, consulting, to installation and manufacturing. What do I mean by that? I don't just want the wind farms, I want the companies that build the blades. I want the companies that consult on the conservation strategies that install and service the solar panels, the whole integrated industry. I want the companies that assemble the hybrid cars and that teach us and teach the world how to invest, and how to move forward in the clean tech sector.

And I want that investment to exist throughout the state. Fuel cells for example can be made in Springfield or anywhere else in the Commonwealth close to a rail line. We do not have to concentrate all of this new growth in or around Boston, as much as I love Boston. There are opportunities to use these technological breakthroughs to help stimulate the economy across the regions.

Our executive office of Labor and Workforce Development is connecting with you, labor and higher-ed institutions as well but particularly our local community colleges to develop training programs that can meet your expanding workforce needs. We are also making available significant workforce training funds that you can apply to use to build employee skills and we'd be happy to give you information on how to do that.

Secretary Bump may have mention the sustainable practices in construction project at Greenfield Community College that we are funding the Competitive Workforce Trust Fund. I just want to mention it again as a model of the kinds of programs we hope to put in place in community colleges across the state. Program participants will get basic career skills, as well as training in applied math an science, photovoltaics, solar H2O installation, green building, bio-diesel production techniques, and sustainable resource theory and applications. We are determined to make Massachusetts a leader in this sector, nationally and globally. And you have to help us. We don't have all of the answers, but you do. And that's why we ask that the council be organized and that you continue in an ongoing basis to partner with us. Not because we can do it for you, but because we can do what you ask us to do, to try and make a platform for the industry to flourish.

We've not only tried to foster and environment for growth, but also generate a strong local demand for clean energy products and services by encouraging consumers and businesses to conserve energy, make use of renewable energy and distributed generation, and build green buildings. And we know these are just the first steps. We want a thriving industry of alternative energy companies creating good, lasting, livable wage jobs in an environmentally friendly industry where imagination an technological creativity are critical. If that doesn't describe Massachusetts, I don't know what does. So come and help us. And I look forward to working with each of you to move us all forward.

Thank you for having me.