Kerry, Patrick Tour WITC in Charlestown

October 16, 2014
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Last Thursday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom Philip Hammond at Charlestown’s  Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC) to tour the facility and talk about global climate change.

Kerry, Patrick and Hammond took the opportunity to highlight the state’s nation-leading efforts to mitigate and prepare for global climate change impacts. Patrick said in 2007, Massachusetts had 3 megawatts of solar capacity and 3 megawatts of wind capacity.

Today there are 664 megawatts of solar and 106 megawatts of wind installed. Massachusetts is number one in the Nation for energy efficiency for a third consecutive year, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Additionally, Massachusetts has developed a Nation-leading ocean management plan, is investing in clean water technologies and has conserved more than 125,000 acres of land in Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts has led the way in securing our clean energy future to make the Commonwealth more energy independent, lower costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions for generations to come,” said Patrick at the press conference. “But we know that climate change is not just a challenge for the future; heat waves, coastal flooding, intense precipitation and more extreme storms are here today and will only worsen. We must continue to invest in innovative programs in Massachusetts that increase the resiliency of our communities and infrastructure right now.”

Kerry, Hammond and Patrick used Charlestown’s WTTC as the press conferences backdrop because it is the largest facility in North America designed to test land-based and offshore wind blades. The WTTC,  operated by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) was established in 2011 and is the first facility in the nation capable of testing large-scale wind turbine blades up to 90 meters in length. The facility acts as independent certifier of wind blade designs, with the goal of helping the industry bring down the costs of wind blade technologies.

The WTTC offers the latest wind turbine blade testing and prototype development methodologies to help the wind industry deploy the next generation of land-based and offshore wind turbine technologies. The WTTC also attracts companies to design, manufacture and test their blades in the United States and helps catalyze growth in the American wind turbine supply chain.

“As governor, Deval Patrick has made absolutely certain that Massachusetts is leading the way with respect to clean energy, future energy, renewable alternative, and together, we are setting the trend,” said Kerry. “I’m very proud as a Massachusetts citizen that Governor Patrick has set the next big step of helping to move us forward by setting the goal for ending all reliance on conventional coal generation in the next four years, and that is something I don’t believe any other sitting governor in the United States has had the foresight to do.”

Last month, as part of the Massachusetts-UK Innovation Partnership Mission, Patrick addressed European offshore wind industry leaders and government officials at a forum in London to discuss opportunities to grow the global offshore wind industry, including the emerging industry in Massachusetts. Commonwealth officials met with officials from the United Kingdom to share best practices on how big data is being utilized in Massachusetts and the United Kingdom to address climate change.

In January, the Patrick Administration announced a coordinated plan for climate preparedness to increase resiliency of communities and infrastructure across the Commonwealth. As part of this initiative, $50 million in capital and trust resources were allocated to programs that directly assist municipalities facing the impacts of climate change. This includes his $40 million Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, which utilizes clean energy technologies to improve resiliency at critical municipal facilities.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom Philip Hammond talk global climate change at Charlestown’s  Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC).