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For the First Time Ever, this Group of Fossil Fuel Workers Will Transition Into Renewable Energy 

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The most enormous casualties of the renewable energy campaign are fossil fuel plant workers. This group’s fate has long been the elephant in the room when discussing a transition to clean energy. 

Ravenswood Generating Station and an Offshore Wind Farm
Source: susancandelario/X reNEWS_/X

Green energy advocates have struggled to come up with satisfactory answers to this puzzle. Well, maybe until now. 

In what has become a ground-breaking development, New York’s largest fossil fuel plant has devised a smooth transition plan for its workers to the renewable energy industry. 

There was jubilation when stakeholders announced a multi-billion dollar plan to convert the Ravenswood Generating Station into a clean energy center. But the news has gotten even better. They will include their workers in the switch.

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Part of the plan involved replacing the plant’s three gigantic 60-year-old steam generators with offshore wind and solar power. More interestingly, its workers will receive training on operating the new model and keep their jobs. 

This will be the first time dirty energy workers will switch to clean energy in the United States. 

Ravenswood Generating Station is a 2,480-megawatt power plant located in the Long Island City of Queens. Previously, it had powered 20% of the city and offshore wind power of 1,400 megawatts will replace it.

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In a sensitive and considerate move, its owners, Attentive Energy One (AE1), struck a deal with the plant workers’ union to “retain, retrain, and upskill” the plant workers. 

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The agreement meant that AE1 would commence a transition training program in collaboration with the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 (UWUA Local 1-2). This training aims to equip the workers with knowledge about operating the new version.

With the workers fully trained, the offshore wind power equipment will have an adequately skilled workforce to reach its maximum power generation capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW). 

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The Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards Jr., who has expressed his excitement over the arrangement, has this to say, “agreement between Attentive Energy One and Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 not only ensures the Ravenswood Generating Station transitions into a hub of renewable energy but also becomes a model of how to empower the existing workforce amidst that transition.” 

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Estimates for 2019 show about 250 coal plants across the United States. These plants employ over 80,000 workers who will significantly experience the impact of the switch to renewable energy.

A 2022 study showed that the cost of setting up renewable power infrastructure near phased-out coal plants would run into an additional $83 billion. But when viewed relative to the $70 billion annual United States investment in power, it is a worthy bargain. 

This new model places replacement plants close to workers and retrains workers to fit into the new system. This will do a lot of good to the energy sector and the economy as a whole. Hopefully, the AE1 example will be replicated in future projects to maintain stability in the industry and ensure that non-renewable energy workers aren’t stranded. 

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