Groundbreaking on blade test facility brings out the smiles By John Dunlop

They were celebrating for at least two reasons. First, the construction of a new test facility in an urban area, financed with a $2 million Energy Department grant, will mean jobs–250 in construction alone–and economic growth; of course, that was the plan all along when Congress passed the economic recovery package earlier this year.

Second, it puts Massachusetts firmly in the Wind energy column, especially since it comes a day before the opening of American Wind Energy Association’s offshore wind workshop, also in Boston, and a few weeks after the opening of an unusual new wind project on an island off Cape Cod.

Rep. Edward Markey, who chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, got into the spirit of the occasion. "New England has had a long relationship with the wind. It was the wind that blew the first pilgrims to our shores. It was the wind that created the environment documented in the ‘The Perfect Storm.’ The wind has long been testing Massachusetts people. And now, Massachusetts people will be testing the wind!"

Gil Sperling, representing the Energy Department, noted how much energy policy has changed with the new administration, and suggested the blade testing facility was the first energy research project to start construction using the economic recovery funds.

There was also praise for Governor Patrick, and Ian Bowles, secretary of the state’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Department, for their support for the project.

There was little doubt, though, that Rep. Markey had the best line of the day when he said, "We in Boston have frequently been criticized for dropping our ‘R’s’ when we speak. But one ‘R’ that we should never drop is the ‘R’ in ‘R and D.’"