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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Unions are going offshore to find a receptive renewable energy.

Driving the news: America’s nascent offshore wind industry, which requires uniquely complex infrastructure, is being built out with strong labor agreements that were largely absent from their onshore counterparts.

“Things are changing with offshore wind, which is going to be a big job creator on the East Coast,” said Phil Jordan, vice president at BW Research. “Most of those projects are going to be or already have been under project labor agreements, so a much higher percentage of those workers will be union members.”

The intrigue: In my recent column on how Joe Biden’s climate plan is trying to bring unions into clean-energy industries, numerous union officials and other experts said the main exception to the trend that renewable energy lags on union representation was offshore wind.

How it works: The reason is threefold, according to union representatives, state officials and other experts.

  1. Local governments, especially in New York where lots of offshore wind is in the works, incorporate project-labor agreements into their policies. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) holds power over energy projects to a level most other states don’t.
  2. The European companies leading on development in the U.S. have pro-union histories, namely the Danish company Ørsted, according to Jim Harrison, director of renewable energy at the Utility Workers Union of America.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, the complicated process of moving such big infrastructure around and into the ocean compels cooperation with a reliable workforce, which union officials say their organizations can provide more so than non-union workforces.

“There is no doubt an offshore wind project is a large infrastructure to the greatest degree,” Doreen Harris, acting director of NYSERDA, told me recently. “The complexity and need for safety is in even sharper focus for the offshore wind industry than the land-based [wind] might be.”

Go deeper: Joe Biden’s climate plan tries to bring unions into the clean-energy revolution

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 30, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
30 mins ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Who benefits from Biden's move to reopen ACA enrollment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 15 million Americans who are currently uninsured are eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than half of them would qualify for subsidies, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief.

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.