Unions Block Non-Union Solar Projects

solar appliedmat tbi

If green collar jobs are really going to revive the nation’s manufacturing sector, as hoped, unions don’t want to get shafted.

So they are doing all they can to make sure any big solar installations are built with union labour:

NYT: When a company called Ausra filed plans for a big solar power plant in California, it was deluged with demands from a union group that it study the effect on creatures like the short-nosed kangaroo rat and the ferruginous hawk.

By contrast, when a competitor, BrightSource Energy, filed plans for an even bigger solar plant that would affect the imperiled desert tortoise, the same union group, California Unions for Reliable Energy, raised no complaint. Instead, it urged regulators to approve the project as quickly as possible.

One big difference between the projects? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labour-friendly contractors.

It’s an added cost for an industry that can hardly afford added costs. Solar projects face a 20% increase in project costs when unions are brought on board.

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