In a US first, fossil fuel power plant workers will be retrained for offshore wind

Labor union members at New York’s Ravenswood Generating Station will become the US’s first fossil fuel power plant workers to transition to operating offshore wind equipment.

Ravenswood is a 2,480-megawatt (MW) power plant in Long Island City, Queens, across from Roosevelt Island.

Powering 20% of the city, it’s New York City’s largest fossil-fuel plant, and its fossil fuel generation is going to be replaced with 1,400 MW of offshore wind power.

The 27-acre waterfront oil and gas industrial site will be converted into a clean energy hub that will power one-fifth of New York City – and it needs a skilled workforce to run it.

So its owners, Attentive Energy One (AE1), a joint venture between TotalEnergies and Rise Light & Power, recently made an agreement with Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 (UWUA Local 1-2) to retain, retrain, and upskill Ravenswood’s plant workers.

Upon award of a contract, AE1 will launch a training program with UWUA Local 1-2 that will ensure workers can smoothly transition to work on new renewable energy equipment and an operations & maintenance hub that will support up to 3 GW of offshore wind.

The Ravenswood Training Center, a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)-accredited training sponsor and assessment center, will retrain the power plant’s union members with a new renewable energy and maritime operations curriculum.

James Shillitto, president of UWUA Local 1-2, said in an interview:

We’re very confident that working with Rise, Total and Attentive that we’re going to come out the right way.

None of us are climate deniers and we know that things have to change.

And Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said:

[T]his agreement between Attentive Energy One and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 not only ensures the Ravenswood Generating Station transitions into a hub of renewable energy, but also becomes a model of how to empower the existing workforce amidst that transition.

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.

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