Clean Energy Innovation Conference Remarks

By:  Deval Patrick
Date: June 21, 2013
Location: Unknown

Thank you for inviting me here this morning, but most especially thank you for being here.

I have spent most of my career in the private sector. One of the things that worried me about the companies I worked in or with was the overemphasis on managing for the next quarter, on getting short-term results sometimes at the expense of the firm's long-term interests. That behavior has crept into the way we govern in America, where we govern for the next election cycle, or the next news cycle, instead of for the next generation.

So, we brought a different approach, emphasizing the things that would leave a lasting improvement in the strength of our Commonwealth -- by growing opportunity. Specifically, we have pursued a strategy of investing in education, infrastructure and innovation.

We invest in education because education is our global calling card and our economic edge. The world needs well-prepared young minds and mid-career talent and with nearly 300 colleges and universities within an hour and a half of where you're sitting, brainpower is our most abundant natural resource. So, we have expanded support of and instituted new reforms in the public schools; we are rebuilding our public college and university campuses; and we are working hard to make early education and college affordability more broadly available.

We invest in infrastructure because rebuilding our roads, rails, bridges, expanding broadband to every community, building new classrooms and labs and more affordable housing gives private initiative and personal ambition the platform for growth.

And we invest in innovation because enabling and encouraging industries that depend on brainpower is the best way to take advantage of the knowledge explosion happening in the world economy today. That's what our life sciences initiative is about. And digital technology (meaning, robotics, big data, cyber security and communications) is having resurgence in Massachusetts, too.

Education, infrastructure, innovation. It's a strategy proven through history. And it's working for us today.

Creating a clean energy future is central to our growth strategy. One of our generation's biggest long-term challenges is energy: where to get it, how to sustain it, and how to keep it cost effective.

Five years ago, we in Massachusetts took a fresh look at our energy future, starting with our current realities. Energy in Massachusetts has long been relatively costly. With no oil, coal or natural gas of our own, we are at the end of the pipeline and are subject to the whims of a global energy market. We bear the costs associated with finding, extracting and transporting fuels from all corners of the world.

We spend billions of dollars annually to import fuel from places like South America, Canada and the Middle East. That is lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy programs.

So, working together with many of you in this room, we set out to shape a different future. We set ambitious long-term goals for changing how much and what kind of energy we consume, and gave businesses, families and local governments the tools we need to get there.

We focused at the outset on energy efficiency, making it our "first fuel" to meet new energy needs. We are making $2.2 billion in energy efficiency investments over three years, and will deliver nearly $9 billion in benefits for consumers. We are now in a position to meet future power needs without new generation capacity. For the second year in the row, we lead the nation in energy efficiency.

131 Massachusetts communities have adopted clean energy building codes, and are designed to achieve up to 20 percent savings in new construction. We are testing new ways to build zero net energy buildings at competitive costs, and stretch codes that pay back in energy savings in less than two years.

110 communities -- representing nearly half of all of our residents -- have committed to cutting municipal energy consumption equal to the annual energy consumption of more than 13,600 Massachusetts homes and the greenhouse gases from more than 31,000 cars.

Wind and solar are also a part of our strategy. When I took office, Massachusetts had a nominal commitment to renewable energy, a total of about 6 megawatts of solar and wind energy combined. In May, we reached our 2017 goal of 250 megawatts installed solar four years early. We are at 263 megawatts of solar power now and will reach 1,600 megawatts by 2020.

We are also working with the other New England states to bring large scale wind and hydro to our region through coordinated procurement processes and long-term contracting. This collaborative approach makes sense in New England and it will accelerate markets and innovative partnerships across the region.

Today, 5,000 clean tech companies in Massachusetts employ 72,000 people. The sector grew over 11 percent last year, defying national and global economic trends.

These are real jobs, in both small home-grown and large multi-national companies, that are changing the dynamic of how we use energy and steward the environment, while growing our innovation economy.

Indeed, Massachusetts has attracted more clean energy private investment per capita than any other U.S. state. And let me speak directly to those investors and company decision makers: whether you are solar, energy storage, efficiency, lighting, wind, biofuels, fuel cells, whatever: we want you here.

We want you to invent here. We want you to manufacture here. We want your headquarters here. We want you to expand and grow here. Not just in Boston and Cambridge, but also in regions of the state like the South Coast, where costs of living are lower and local economies are poised for new industry. We have the brainpower to help you invent and develop new products.

We are strengthening our community colleges to better align with your workforce needs so that you have the talent you will need.

We are creating an atmosphere that encourages our inventors to manufacture your products in Massachusetts.

By using a few tools that fill gaps in the private sector, we have positioned Massachusetts as the global leader in biotech and the life sciences. If we work together, we can do the same with clean energy.

Whether we like it or not, there will be winners and losers when it comes to the clean energy future. We can wait for that future to happen to us. Or we can shape it. Working with you, I look forward to shaping it.

Thank you.

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