This week, Bay State Wind announced an exciting new partnership with the UWUA, IBEW and the Ironworkers for a proposed offshore wind project off the southern coast of Massachusetts. The announcement includes plans for a collaboration with Bristol Community College and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to build and run an innovative training center that will prepare workers for new careers in the ongoing operation and maintenance of offshore wind technology.
“This announcement shows what thoughtful labor, industry, and academic collaboration makes possible,” said UWUA President Mike Langford. He added that, “Offshore wind development will create thousands of family-supporting, highly skilled construction, operations, and maintenance careers through this new, innovative partnership. Working families from Massachusetts and beyond will benefit from these high-road jobs through sustainable wages, fair benefits, and strong health and safety protections, all while providing a safe, highly skilled workforce to the project developer. The Utility Workers Union is proud to support this initiative and see it as a model for the future of offshore wind energy development in this country.”
This effort began in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the Massachusetts’s Electric Distribution Companies and the Department of Energy Resources. The RFP, which was issued in response to the state’s Act to Promote Energy Diversity, seeks long-term contracts for offshore wind energy generation. The state is pushing to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2027, and Bay State Wind, along with two other developers, have each submitted bids to the state to provide between 200 and 800 megawatts of energy to state utility companies for the first phase of procurement efforts.
Bay State Wind, which is a joint venture between Ørsted North America and Eversource, has proposed the largest transmission line of the three bids with sufficient capacity to receive 1,600 MW of offshore wind generation. The proposed advantage in economies of scale would provide an estimated savings to Massachusetts ratepayers of $158 million per year.
In teaming up with the UWUA, IBEW, and the Ironworkers, Bay State Wind is ensuring the highest standard of construction, maintenance, and operations for its proposed development. Furthermore, its commitment to building a training center in collaboration with top-notch academic institutions means that working families in Massachusetts will be gaining new opportunities in a burgeoning renewable energy industry.
UWUA can attest to the success of similar partnerships through our Power For America Training Trust (P4A). The P4A program was created in 2009 in partnership with Utility Lines CS, Entergy, and National Grid to provide both apprenticeship programs and additional training to incumbent workers. Through its proven value to stakeholders, P4A has grown to develop partnerships with 12 employers, and conducts training in 11 states.
The state of Massachusetts is expected to announce its decision on May 23rd, and the UWUA looks forward to collaborating on this bold and promising initiative.