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EGEB: Here come US wind jobs — Orsted, union strike a deal

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Ørsted and North America’s Building Trades Unions will train an offshore wind construction workforce.
  • The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians installs a battery and solar system to mitigate wildfire blackouts.
  •  UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.

US offshore wind jobs

Danish green energy group Ørsted (ORSTED.CO) and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) yesterday announced a deal to train an offshore wind construction workforce to build Ørsted’s pipeline of US East Coast projects. The NABTU represents 3 million workers.

Ørsted North America CEO David Hardy told Reuters:

We are working to proactively develop a plan to transition organized labor into the offshore industry.

We want to work with the NABTU to create a framework for an offshore wind construction workforce for all offshore wind farms we will operate.

Ørsted and NABTU said they will together identify the necessary skills for the offshore workforce, and partner on training and certification. They have not yet disclosed how many jobs would be created.

NABTU president Sean McGarvey said:

This will show how as we move and transform our energy production in North America, it can be done at middle-class wages and good benefits packages. Anything else is not acceptable.

Ørsted operates Block Island off Rhode Island (pictured), the US’ first and only utility-scale offshore wind farm. It was built with union labor.

Reuters reports:

The United States offshore wind industry holds 15 active commercial leases that, if built, could generate another 30GW of electricity, create 83,000 jobs and drive $25 billion in annual economic output in the next decade, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

US president-elect Joe Biden has set a goal to achieve net zero in the electricity sector by 2035.

Microgrid for the Soboba Band

The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians will protect the Soboba Fire Department against grid outages caused by wildfires in Southern California with a microgrid project that consists of 50 kW of solar and a 0.5 MWh Vanadium Flow Battery, supplied by Invinity Energy Systems. The system will be able to provide a minimum of 10 hours of continuous backup power. The $1.7 million project developed by nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives will ensure uninterrupted power.

During wildfires, the Soboba fire station serves as the incident command center and emergency shelter as well as the point of distribution for food, equipment, and supplies — making uninterrupted power vital for community resiliency.

Tribal residents live in a district identified by the California Public Utilities Commission as a “Tier 3 – Extreme” threat area and have experienced multiple outages linked to wildfires over the last two years. The number of blackouts across California is expected to increase as preemptive Public Safety Power Shutoffs events become more common, so the Soboba Band is planning on expanding services at the fire station site by building a medical center and community building, along with additional battery backup and microgrid systems for those facilities. 

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.