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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.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.