Executive Director of the Maine Labor Climate Council Francis Eanes, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the council’s role in the energy transition in Maine. Eanes also discussed what it’s like to organize an industry in its infancy and the importance of working with already established industries to make offshore wind a welcomed addition in Maine.
The Maine Labor Climate Council is made up of 20 labor unions and labor councils. They are tasked with ensuring a successful transition plan from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources. The council is seen as an opportunity for organized labor to lead the charge, ensuring quality, skilled union jobs create the future of energy and benefit all the workers involved. They are not here to convince anyone about climate change, but to ensure organized labor is part of the new alternative energy industry, Eanes added.
Organizing a developing industry has been a difficult task for the council, Eanes said. Not only is the council dealing with the politics of the projects, but also many objections from unions in industries that may be disrupted. He pointed to the fishing industry as one example. The council is working together with the fishing industry to ensure the offshore wind projects will be placed away from prime fishing grounds, ensuring both industries have no disruptions.
The climate council has also worked to ensure there will be a need for offshore wind energy. Early calculations have shown that at scale the wind farms could power all of Maine’s power grid, with a minimum of powering at least half of the state. Eanes believes if this transition is handled correctly, Maine could become the leader in renewable wind energy in America.
Listen to the entire episode to learn more.
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