Offshore Wind Company Will Retrain NY Power Plant Union for Clean Energy Jobs
An offshore wind developer partly owned by TotalEnergies said on Monday it has agreed to retrain and keep roughly 100 union workers from a New York City natural gas-fired power plant that it intends to repurpose for its project.
The company, called Attentive Energy One, has proposed a 1.4 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind installation off New York that would connect to the mainland grid at the site of the Ravenswood plant in Queens, and is competing for a power contract with the state.
The company is a joint venture between TotalEnergies, the French energy giant, and Rise Light & Power, the unit of New York-based energy investment firm LS Power that operates the 1960s-era Ravenswood generating station.
Clint Plummer, chief executive of Rise Light & Power, told Reuters he believes the agreement to retrain and employ the power plant workers is an important aspect of Attentive's bid for a state power contract.
"But we're not doing it because of that," he said. "We see it as a key part of our stewardship of this asset and the responsibility that we hold to do right by that workforce."
Jobs could include operating the project's control room, handling spare parts for servicing wind turbines and other logistics functions, the company said.
James Shillitto, president of Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2, which represents workers at the plant, said he welcomed the deal.
"We're very confident that working with Rise, Total and Attentive that we're going to come out the right way," he said in an interview. "None of us are climate deniers and we know that things have to change."
President Joe Biden's administration is encouraging the development of offshore wind and other renewable energy sources, and has pledged that its climate change agenda will create millions of good-paying union jobs.
New York has mandated that 70% of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 and the state has set a target to develop 9 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2035.
Winners in the state's third offshore wind solicitation will be announced this summer.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio)