Based on emerging opportunities in renewable energy, the UBC is aggressively working to ensure its carpenters and millwrights are prepared to help signatory contractors take full advantage of opportunities found in this new facet of North America’s energy industry.
For example, the Brotherhood recently created the UBC Renewable Energy Committee, which will work for the exchange of information across the United States and Canada in order to stay abreast of legislative, training, and marketing opportunities.
Renewables now constitute more than 8 percent of total U.S. consumption, including 10 percent of electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“We have a diverse group from across Canada and the United States who represent UBC crafts,” said UBC International Millwright Representative Dan Bark, chairman of the 16-member committee. “We want to be a clearinghouse of market conditions and best practices in training for signatory contractors and union officials. We are tracking renewable energy initiatives in various stages of development all over North America, as well as issues being debated in state, provincial, and federal legislatures.”
Bark outlined various example scenarios where the UBC is making a difference in the effort to develop new clean, reliable, renewable sources of energy:
U.S. employment in the solar industry grew 6.8 percent in the last year and topped 100,000 in August, with more than half of those jobs in construction and installation, according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census for 2011, which predicts an additional 24 percent employment increase over the next 12 months.
The Carpenters International Training Fund, developer of training for the UBC, recently launched an initiative to prepare members for work opportunities installing rooftop solar arrays on new and existing commercial and residential buildings. The Solar Installer Qualification course, taught at the International Training Center in Las Vegas, makes use of the training fund’s “train-the-trainer” philosophy to rapidly get in-demand job skills into the field.
The Boston-based developers of the Cape Wind project plan to build 130 wind turbines that will produce up to 420 megawatts of electricity, enough to provide 75 percent of the power needs for the Cape Cod area. It would be the first offshore wind farm in the United States. The UBC and Cape Wind have already agreed to a project labor agreement for the divers, pile drivers, and millwrights.
The U.S. government has proposed a plan for development of 10 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2020 and 54 gigawatts by 2030, and the