NYS Laborers Event Underscores Wind Industry Opportunities

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Last week, the New York State Laborers’ Organizing Fund (NYSLOF) held its first wind energy summit, entitled Building Wind Power in New York.

The summit brought together developers, contractors and state officials to discuss the current state of wind power development in New York and opportunities available through collaboration.

The summit explored increasing the wind energy sector by developing best practices to achieve Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal to have 50% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030, including procuring 2.4 GW of offshore wind.

Keynote speaker Alicia Barton, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), commented, “One of the reasons we are so bullish about offshore wind and about the opportunity for New York State in particular is because it plays to our historic strengths as a state. Doing the work that all of you do – developing, building and constructing on time and on budget some of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects in the world – we know New Yorkers can deliver these projects.”

Panel topics focused on the ways organized labor can assist developers in securing permit approvals and the necessity to build strong relationships with local communities where projects are sited.

“I want to thank the laborers who have gone to their community meetings and have spoken in favor of these projects,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director at the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

“I want to echo Ann’s appreciation,” added Valessa Souter-Kline, project developer on Invenergy’s proposed 380 MW Alle-Catt wind project in western New York. “At Invenergy, we’re seeing the opportunity to develop larger projects, which mean more jobs and more community benefits than we have been able to do alone. Members who have come out to support these projects add an invaluable voice to the conversation.”

Other topics included navigating the state’s Article 10 process and exploring the short-, medium- and long-term growth of wind in New York State through the lens of economic conditions, climate change and labor.

“Wind projects have been growing at a rapid pace and are paving the way for future development in the state,” commented John Hutchings, director of NYSLOF. “The laborers are a valuable and skilled workforce who have been trained for clean energy jobs. While investing in renewable energy, we must also invest in good jobs.”

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