Sparks flew as four candidates for governor sparred over the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound and other energy issues during an hour-long debate sponsored by MassInc at the University's C. Walsh Theatre.
Gov. Deval Patrick, the Democratic candidate, was the sole Cape Wind supporter among the debaters, calling it good for Massachusetts from “an environmental point of view, an energy point of view, an economic point of view and a symbolic point of view.”
Patrick said the project would create as many as 1,000 jobs while positioning Massachusetts as a leader in clean energy.
Republican candidate Charlie Baker, state Treasurer Tim Cahill, who is running as an independent, and Green-Rainbow party nominee Jill Stein all took aim at the 130-turbine wind farm plan.
Baker called Cape Wind “the biggest no-bid contract in the history of the commonwealth” and “a monstrous big bet” on a project that he said will unnecessarily boost energy costs for ratepayers.
“Many people are paying a big bill on this without necessarily knowing why,” Baker said. “There are lots of other options, most of which are cheaper.”
Cahill said Massachusetts already has some of the highest electricity rates in the country, and “Cape Wind is only going to add to that.”
“This is the wrong project in the wrong place in the wrong time,” he said.
Stein said the transition to a green economy is the most important task facing this generation, but the Cape Wind project is too costly and is at risk of becoming the next multi-billion dollar boondoggle.
“As Cape Wind comes to us today, it is clearly not delivering the most green energy for every dollar invested,” Stein said. “And it’s asking for an enormous investment, probably two and a half billion dollars, that will mostly come from ratepayers.”