Energy Partners Commit $1 Million to Help Prepare Workforce for Wind Industry

A partnership between Rhode Island and higher education, workforce, and workforce development organizations is working to prepare the state’s workforce for the emerging offshore wind industry in New England and New York.

Eversource and Danish energy company Orsted’s Revolution Wind project has committed $1 million to support the partnership between the Community College of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Commerce and the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and Building Futures.

Revolution Wind will provide 400 megawatts of power in Rhode Island and 304 megawatts in Connecticut when expected to be fully operational in 2025.

The training partnership will establish a Global Wind Organization Training Certificate Program at the Community College of Rhode Island’s Flanagan Campus in Lincoln. Workers will receive training in first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at heights and survival at sea.

Students will begin enrolling in early 2023. The 44-hour course will result in certification valid for two years. GWO training is an essential part of ensuring safe working conditions and practices in the industry.

In Connecticut, state officials are modeling workforce training on a successful Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board program recruiting and training workers at submarine manufacturer General Dynamics Electric Boat, Alexandra said. Daum, deputy commissioner of the State Department of Economic and Community Development.

Underwater welders and operations and maintenance workers will be in particular demand, she said.

Connecticut has submitted a request to the Federal Economic Development Administration, though the final dollar amount is not known and will change, Daum said. Avangrid, which owns an offshore wind site, Eversource and Orsted have committed $1.7 million, she said.

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Eversource and Orsted have partnered in Connecticut with Mystic Aquarium to provide $1.25 million to support marine research and wildlife protection, educational programs and career resources for children and women, Eversource said.

The two companies have also partnered with Project Oceanology in Groton to provide $950,000 to launch a K-12 STEM program focused on climate change, sustainability, power generation and offshore wind.

And energy partners chose ThayerMahan in Groton to monitor wildlife and seabed related to the Revolution Wind project and a consortium of fishermen from Sea Services North America in Waterford to provide support vessels and monitoring services during construction of the parks. offshore wind farms.

The State Pier in New London is being expanded and upgraded as part of a $236 million project to assemble wind turbines before the towers are towed out to the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, or seCTer, an economic development organization, details a set of proposals for workforce and site development.

Eversource, which committed $225 million in a 50-50 partnership with Orsted in 2019, is reviewing its continued investments in offshore wind. Chief executive Joe Nolan told industry analysts on a July 29 conference call that the expanses of ocean he shares with Orsted are “just about the most attractive in North America.” . He cited high average wind speeds, moderate depths and strong public policy support.

Eversource will have more details by the end of the year on a potential buyer of its stake in its venture with Orsted, he said.

Stephen Singer can be reached at ssinger@courant.com.

Michael A. Bynum