America’s offshore wind industry is growing, creating quality, family-sustaining jobs and helping to drive the nation’s clean energy future. This week, the BlueGreen Alliance said that the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act introduced by Reps. Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Bill Keating (D-MA), and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) will ensure that workers have access to the skills training they need to take advantage of this emerging industry.
“The UWUA applauds the introduction of the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, recognizing the bright future of offshore wind energy production along the Eastern seaboard, and around the world,” said Mike Langford, National President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).
After the completion of the nation’s first wind farm off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, multiple additional projects are beginning to take shape off the Atlantic coast. These projects rely heavily on advanced manufacturing and skilled labor for construction, installation, operations, and maintenance.
“By equally supporting a wide variety of workforce development strategies targeted at this growing energy sector, including union training and apprenticeship programs, this bill points the way to a future of high-quality, middle-class jobs in offshore wind. Emerging energy technologies will continue to grow and, more than ever, our nation needs the leadership shown by this bill to build the worker and community-supporting clean energy economy of tomorrow,” added Langford.
The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would create a job training grant program aimed at developing or improving educational and career training programs to provide individuals with the skills needed in the offshore wind industry.
“Offshore wind energy presents a tremendous opportunity for America to make our energy supply cleaner, more wildlife-friendly, and more secure,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Investments like those driven by the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act are vital for making offshore wind energy a reality for America and ensuring that good-paying jobs are created in the process.”
The potential for offshore wind development in the U.S. is substantial. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if we used even 1% of the nation’s technical potential offshore wind capacity, it could power nearly 6.5 million homes. The Block Island Wind Farm alone creates enough electricity to power 17,000 homes.
“We cannot overstate the value that investing in clean and renewable energy has the potential to bring to the U.S. economy,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. “We can create thousands of family-supporting, community-sustaining manufacturing jobs in America by addressing the causes of global climate change with urgency.”
“The offshore wind industry holds great potential for creating quality, family-sustaining jobs while producing clean, renewable energy,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The nation’s first offshore wind farm in Block Island, Rhode Island, alone put 300 people to work. As more wind farms spring up off America’s coasts, demand for the highly skilled workers needed to complete these innovative projects will grow as well. Rep. Tsongas’ Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act will play a significant role in providing the skills needed for workers to break into this growing field.”