Friday, July 17, 2009

Let The Sun Shine

Attorney General Martha Coakley and Governor Deval Patrick agree to Develop Large Scale Utility-Backed Solar Power Projects. In a statement released Thursday July 16th both the Governor and the Attorney General praise the increased use of solar photovoltaic power plants. They propose a convoluted system of Boards and Committees to oversee the planning and construction of these new large scale facilities all of which will be underwritten by Federal money from the ARRA. They present this as a coming together of the Attorney General in her role as ratepayer advocate, and the Governor, in his role as advocate for the state as a whole. Together they will fashion a new model which will bring cheap power and new jobs to the Commonwealth. I don’t believe it.

Both of these ambitious politicians are looking to their personal futures. Deval Patrick, who wishes to leave our state for greener Federal Pastures, is using this opportunity to show those in Foggy Bottom that he can turn the sow’s ear of ARRA money into the silk purse of jobs. Martha Coakley, who wishes to become the next Governor of the Commonwealth, is happy to help Deval move up and out while at the same time trying to polish her tarnished image as the statutory advocate for the ratepayers (just ask anyone in Fitchburg about the job she is doing).

Solar photovoltaic power plants can be a good idea, and I am in favor of lowering our dependence on foreign gas and oil. What I question is the ability of state officials to undertake large and expensive infrastructure projects and complete them on time and on budget. Maybe I am wrong, but this sounds very much like what Bill Weld said at the start of the Big Dig, and we all know how that story ended.

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