Growing Industry Provides Opportunities for Veterans and Displaced Fossil Fuels Workers
Amidst mixed global job markets, growth in the sustainability industry has been consistent over the past years, presenting opportunities for transition for a variety of workers.
A variety of professionals are needed to sustain growth within the sustainability industry. Spread across different value chains (manufacturing, engineering, construction, education, research, project development, etc.) of renewable energy proliferation in both developed and developing countries, and across different technology types, future growth in the industry is forecast to stay strong.
Team Gemini works in a variety of industries to help advance progress, and jobs that allow projects to be developed and implemented are vital in making strong progress in a timely manner.
Relevant to U.S. markets, the Department of Energy (DOE) has highlighted several details for workers transitioning from declining industries or opportunities:
Solar jobs in the U.S. are growing eight to ten times faster than jobs in the overall economy, mostly due to the falling costs of the technology and the extension of tax credits available to help fund projects. This winter the industry announced that there were more than 1 million solar installations in the country today and in just two years that number will double to 2 million.
Solar for Vets: One sector of the workforce DOE hopes to boost is military veterans. As part of the STEP program, the Solar Foundation (TSF), known for its National Solar Jobs Census, was awarded just shy of $2 million to become the national administrator for the Solar Ready Vets program. TSF will work with training institutions at ten military bases to train more than 2,500 transitioning military service members and veterans for jobs in the solar energy industry.
Oil and Gas Workers to Wind Installation Technicians: To meet the groundswell of demand from potential wind turbine technicians, one UK-based oil and gas training company is now offering wind training courses that are Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) approved.
Coal and Oil Workers to Solar Installers: NABCEP provides testing and qualification services to installers who have completed classroom and on-the-job training. The organization also received DOE money (just over U.S. $1M) to develop new industry-validated personnel certifications for individuals working in PV operations and maintenance and mid-scale PV system design and installation.
As coal plants retire or it becomes too expensive to retrofit them with mandated environmental controls, new capacity will need to come online and that capacity will likely be renewables. In May, traditionally coal-focused utility American Electric Power (AEP) put out a request for information (RFI) for up to 900 MW of wind and solar power capacity.
Ultimately, opportunities need to be matched with relevant demand and resources. In regions where solar or wind power will not make particularly strong progress at the outset, other job opportunities can be gained by focusing on alternative technologies involving bio-products, sustainable agriculture, wastewater treatment, and others.
Developing projects in a variety of sectors, Team Gemini actively works with technology providers, educational institutions, and others to develop and implement tailored solutions for different communities and stakeholders. These are long-term projects and initiatives that are intended and designed to positively impact communities’ Triple Bottom Line for many decades to come; setting the foundation for this goal is an evolving and ongoing process. Among other benefits, the goal is to increasingly contribute to local job growth within the renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and other industries.
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