Offshore wind jobs targeted as union positions
NEW LONDON, Conn. – The growing offshore wind industry is often touted as a boon for job creation, but who will do the work?
The U.S. energy secretary and Danish wind developer Orsted say they want American union workers to build offshore wind farms to dot the U.S. coastlines – the building trades workers who could otherwise be left out of a transition to renewable resources.
A majority of onshore wind and solar farms have been built either with non-union workers or without collective bargaining agreements, except for in California where unions are more involved in the industry, according to North America’s Building Trades Unions. Orsted signed a project labor agreement this month with the national union representing 3million people in the building trades to construct the company’s U.S. offshore wind farms with an American union workforce.
'Our recent experience in the last two decades with onshore wind and solar has been that the majority of those projects are not built with us,' NABTU Secretary-Treasurer Brent Booker said last week. 'So this is groundbreaking in setting the standard for an emerging industry here.'
The Biden administration wants to deploy 30gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10million homes. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited the New London State Pier facility last week to see how Orsted, energy provider Eversource and the state of Connecticut are transforming it into a hub for the offshore wind industry.
At a news conference after, the Democratic governor and Democratic congressmen spoke about creating American jobs – messaging that will surely play into their reelection campaigns.
Gov. Ned Lamont said there are 'hundreds of good paying jobs right here' and 'we’re just getting started.'
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, thanked the unions, saying 'this is the future of energy in the United States of America right here.' Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut, said they’re maximizing every opportunity for the state to grow in a sustainable way.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, the only one not up for reelection, echoed the same message, saying offshore wind is the 'holy grail of public policy' because it creates jobs, helps the local economy, makes the country more secure and helps save the planet.
Flanked by building trades members, Granholm said the administration is committed to creating 'union jobs in America in this clean energy economy.'