Senator aims to unionise offshore wind jobs

In: Windfarms

Senator for Massachusetts Edward J. Markey sent letters yesterday (30 December 2019) to offshore wind developers Vineyard Wind and Ørsted calling on them to enter into Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for all projects off the Massachusetts and the larger East Coast. The PLAs aim ensure that newly created jobs in the offshore wind industry are 'good-paying and safe', and that jobs would be filled with a 'highly skilled local union' workforce.

“The introduction of offshore wind facilities off the coast of Massachusetts is poised to create tens of thousands of new jobs across the region,”
writes Senator Markey in his letters. “All offshore wind projects off the coast of Massachusetts should enter into Project Labor Agreements to make sure that local, highly skilled workers can have good-paying and safe jobs in this important new industry. Massachusetts labor unions stand ready to tackle the opportunities and challenges of projects like Vineyard Wind, and can train and develop the local workforce to meet the demands of the offshore wind industry.”

In June, Senators Markey, Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced legislation to expand offshore wind educational and career training. The legislation would direct the Energy Department to work with stakeholders to identify the offshore wind industry’s educational and career training needs before setting up a grant program to address those needs, including current worker training, training in conjunction with an apprenticeship, individual tuition assistance for a postsecondary credential, or other activities to address the workforce needs of the offshore wind industry. Labor unions and institutions of higher education would be eligible for these grants.

In June, Senators Markey and Whitehouse, and Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02) reintroduced legislation that would spur the growth of offshore wind energy in the United States by extending tax credits for the renewable energy industry. The Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (WIND) Act would extend the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for offshore wind through 2025.

Vineyard Wind
is a joint venture owned 50% by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and 50% by Avangrid Renewables. The company is in the process of developing a 800 MW array is to be contained within a 160,000 acre (647km2) lease area, 14 miles (24km) from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. It will consist of 84 turbines, each with a 9.5 MW capacity, and is expected meet the energy needs of over 400,000 homes and businesses. Vineyard is aiming to have the project operational by 2022.

Ørsted is one of the biggest operators of offshore wind farms and aims to have installed a total offshore wind capacity of 15 GW worldwide by 2025.
In the US, Ørsted has been awarded the rights to build offshore wind farms to serve the markets of Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut. These wind farms will have a total capacity of approx 2.9GW and will be commissioned by 2024.

Massachusetts has set a goal of procuring 1600 MW of offshore wind under a 2016 renewable energy law, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources recently laid out a plan to solicit an additional 1,600 MW of offshore wind by 2024.

For more information on offshore wind turbine developments,
click here. Alternatively, click here for our interactive map of offshore wind farms, infrastructure and ports.

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