Ørsted and Eversource announce Rhode Island offshore wind training programs

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 04/08/2022 Ørsted

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, along with offshore wind joint-venture partners Ørsted and Eversource, announced a collaborative partnership with higher education, labor and workforce development organizations, to prepare Rhode Island’s offshore wind workforce.

The partnership, together with the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Commerce, the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and Building Futures, will be supported by $1 million from Revolution Wind, Ørsted and Eversource’s offshore wind project for Rhode Island and Connecticut. The funding is a portion of a previously announced $4.5 million commitment to support education, workforce training, and supply chain development in the state.
The training partnership aims to establish the State’s first Global Wind Organization (GWO) training certificate program at the Community College of Rhode Island’s Flanagan campus in Lincoln. GWO training – the international standard for offshore wind safety training – provides safety training for workers engaged in offshore wind farm construction and operations. Workers enrolled in the program will receive training in first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at heights, and sea survival.
“Rhode Island has momentum, and that is evident by this major workforce development initiative – it is a true collaboration between higher education, labor, and the workforce,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Our State has a historic, once-in-a-generation opportunity before us to capitalize on its position as the leader in wind and renewable energy, creating good-paying jobs and protecting Rhode Island's future, while being well-positioned to lead the way in fighting the climate crisis.”
“We need to make sure Rhode Island is not just the birthplace of American offshore wind, but its home going forward. Investments like this are how we will make that happen,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “This program will ensure that we have one of the best-trained wind energy workforces in the nation. We can protect our environment while creating good-paying union jobs and leading a growing international industry.”
“Rhode Island workers helped launch America’s offshore wind industry. Now, with this major initiative, we’re partnering with the Rhode Island building trades and state leaders in higher ed and workforce development to ensure Rhode Islanders have the training and skills they need to help build the state’s clean energy future,” said David Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Ørsted Offshore North America.
“We are working to launch a new domestic industry in Rhode Island, and across the region, that will provide well-paying jobs, deliver clean, renewable energy, and help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change,” said Joe Nolan, Chief Executive Officer and President of Eversource Energy. “Today’s $1 million investment is building a safe and inclusive workforce in Rhode Island that will play a critical role in advancing the state’s blue economy and accelerate the transformation to a clean energy future we can all be proud of.” 
CCRI will engage Rhode Island-based Boston Energy, which will serve as a consultant in the facility retrofitting, equipment purchasing, instructor training, and GWO accreditation. Work will begin on the GWO Basic Safety Training program curriculum and facility build-out this fall. Using their existing facilities, this training center will include, among other things, the pool to simulate offshore conditions for sea survival training, and 30-foot-tall structures where students will learn safe climbing practices and rope techniques.
This program will be available to all workers seeking a GWO training certificate. The program is expected to open for enrollment in early 2023. The course takes 44 hours to complete, and certification is valid for two years.
In addition to the GWO training program,
Revolution Wind announced today that it has provided funding to the Department of Labor and Training for offshore wind career training for Rhode Islanders involved in the construction of offshore wind projects.
Once permits are in-hand, offshore construction work on Revolution Wind would begin in 2023, with the project in operations in 2025. Onshore and offshore survey work is already underway.
In total, Ørsted and Eversource are investing a combined $40 million at ProvPort and Quonset Point in North Kingstown to support the development of Revolution Wind, as well as the
South Fork Wind project serving New York. Work to build a new regional offshore wind construction facility at ProvPort is complete.
Ørsted and Eversource’s joint portfolio of Northeast offshore wind farms will be built by American union labor. The developers and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) reached a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to construct the company’s U.S. offshore wind farms with an American union workforce.