Mass governor unveils big push for wind power

Wind turbines would increasingly dot the Massachusetts landscape under a plan unveiled by Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday to ramp up the state's reliance on wind power over the next dozen years.  Patrick said he wants the state to be producing 2,000 megawatts of wind electricity annually by 2020, enough to power 800,000 homes - or about 10 percent of the state's current energy needs.  The state has just nine major wind turbines now, producing less than seven megawatts of power annually.

There are another 300 turbines in various planning and permitting stages, including the proposal by Cape Wind Associates to build 130 windmills across 25 miles of federal waters in Nantucket Sound - enough to generate an estimated 420 megawatts of power.

Patrick pointed to recent successes in helping jump-start the state's solar power industry, including the popularity of a state rebate program designed to encourage homeowners to install solar panels on their homes.  "Now is the time to turn to wind power," Patrick said.  Patrick pointed to what he called "the abundant wind resource we have off our coast" and said local communities are increasingly interested in building their own turbines to ease energy costs.

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