Portland – New England Aqua Ventus, LLC (NEAV) and the Maine Building and Construction Trades Council (MBCTC), on behalf of itself and its affiliated local unions, have reached agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the role of Maine labor in offshore wind projects in the Gulf of Maine.
NEAV is currently developing the offshore wind demonstration project near Monhegan with floating platform technology developed by the University of Maine. The project is expected to produce more than $125 million in total economic activity and create hundreds of Maine-based jobs during the construction period which is expected to occur during 2022 and 2023.
The MOU creates a framework that will lead to future negotiations of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). The agreement envisions that the MBCTC and its affiliated local unions will provide skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen to the construction of offshore wind in Maine. It also includes initiatives to bring new workers into the skilled trades to work on offshore wind. NEAV and MBCTC have agreed to work together to develop training and workforce development programs such as pre-apprenticeships like Helmets to Hard Hats and Building Futures to recruit and train veterans and local disadvantaged young adults for employment on offshore wind projects.
NEAV and MBCTC will work together towards a sustainable and equitable future for Mainers with the common goal of providing hundreds of great paying union construction jobs while combating climate change. NEAV is committed to providing substantial opportunities for Maine workers and business by building a supply chain in the state for offshore wind and maximizing the involvement of Maine-based organizations in all aspects of the project.
“NEAV is really pleased to partner with the (MBCTC) … to involve their skilled members in offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine. The PLA is part of our commitment to doing everything we can to use Maine workers and content in our development, construction and operation activities,” said Chris Wissemann of NEAV. “We’re also really excited to be able support the training of the next generation of skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen to work in our growing industry.”
The project will consist of a single semi-submersible concrete floating platform, developed by UMaine, that will support a commercial 10–12 megawatt wind turbine and will be deployed in a state-designated area 2 miles south of Monhegan Island and 14 miles from the Maine coast. The purpose of the demonstration project is to further evaluate the floating technology, monitor environmental factors and develop best practices for offshore wind to coexist with traditional marine activities in the Gulf of Maine. It will supply clean, renewable electricity to the Maine grid.
Said MBCTC President John Napolitano, “(This) is the first step towards building a new green energy economy that provides a ladder to good carbon-free careers in the trades right here in Maine. (PLA’s) have been used for generations between building trades unions and contractors to ensure the job is done on time and within budget while drawing on a ready pool of skilled, professional union trades people. It will also give our Veterans, youth, and minorities the opportunities to learn the trades and build the workforce for the future … (and) help provide an anchor for a worker friendly, carbon-free industry right here in Maine.”