Offshore wind opportunities expand beyond climate protection to employmentAugust 20, 2020
The growth of this renewable energy generation can boost job training and economic options.
Massachusetts is looking to the offshore wind opportunities as more than the chance to generate electricity without depending on fossil fuels, contributing to the battle against climate change. It sees this rise in renewable energy production as a new industry that can lead to new job training and employment and therefore economic support.
A fishing town in the northern part of the state is experiencing a shift in perspective about the wind farm.
An advocacy group in the town had been opposed to local offshore wind opportunities. That said, it is now seeing the economic benefits that could open up as a result of a project like this one.
The fishing advocacy group called the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives association has partnered with the Northeast Maritime Institute in receipt of a $1.3 million state grant program. Within this partnership, they will enroll commercial fishermen in a certification course. This will provide them with the qualifications they need for transporting both people and supplies to the offshore wind farms for the Vineyard Wind project.
These offshore wind opportunities can support the fishermen as fish stocks sharply decline.
The New England region has been home to a major fishing port. However, the industry has been struggling due to declining fish stocks and the regulations that have been implemented to protect species from overfishing.
The program has yet to begin its active recruitment phase. However, news of its potential has been sparking interest and five people have already signed up for a waiting list, said the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership organization’s president, Angela Sanfilippo.
“We are aware eventually it is going to happen, and the fishermen have the skills that could get engaged in these jobs,” said Sanfilippo. “If they get unable to fish, they still need to support themselves and their families.”
The Massachusetts grants were awarded in July. They will provide support for a spectrum of different initiatives. These will include the development of university-led credential programs. This will also help to open offshore wind opportunities to locals who benefit from the training they receive for turbine maintenance. Moreover, it will teach tradespeople skills particular to the wind energy industry.