Labor Groups Tour Block Island Wind Farm

By: Tim Studebaker

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BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. – More than 100 labor officials got a tour of the Block Island Wind Farm on Tuesday to see what kinds of economic opportunities may lie ahead in the clean energy industry in Southern New England.

The Block Island Wind Farm is the nation’s first offshore wind farm.  With other states like Massachusetts committing to produce offshore energy in the coming years, more offshore wind farms are likely on the way.

Catherine Bowes, Senior Manager at the National Wildlife Federation says, “We’re working with many of the folks here on this boat and all along the coast to really move this industry forward.”

The wind farm’s developer Deepwater Wind, along with the National Wildlife federation, BlueGreen Alliance, and the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council are hoping to demonstrate to labor groups the benefit of offshore wind farms on the local economy, including ports like New Bedford.

Bowes says, “Thanks to the leadership of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and investing in the Marine Commerce Terminal out of New Bedford, they’re positioned to really host a whole suite of activities associated with offshore wind development.”

The trip was an effort to bring southern New England to the forefront of a growing industry.

Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council says, “We’re looking at opportunities not just on the construction of the wind turbines and the towers, but also the construction of the facilities that come along to support those facilities as well.”

Bowes says it’s not just the workers that would benefit, “Offshore wind is such a massive clean energy and pollution free opportunity off our shores that has the opportunity to really help minimize the threats to both people and wildlife from fossil fuels.”

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017