» Labor troubles clouding solar industry’s sunny future

Labor troubles clouding solar industry’s sunny future

June 25, 2009 by Tom Guay
Posted in: Cost Cutting, Green Office, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, News, Technology, Waste & Pollution

California’s burgeoning solar industry suddenly finds itself facing a challenge that’s worse than a week of rain — winning labor union support.

Companies that agree to hire union workers seem to sail through approval hearings. Those that buck the union system get hammered with environmental impact reviews, costs and delays.

The New York Times reports that when solar power developer Ausra wanted to build a solar plant, it was challenged by labor lawyers who were terribly worried about protecting the environment and animal habitats.

Ausra didn’t want to hire union workers.

But an even larger solar plant proposed by BrightSource Energy sailed through the approval process, with enthusiastic support from the same union group, the California Unions for Reliable Energy.

BrightSource had agreed to hire union workers.

The NYTimes story warns that the battle over hiring union workers to build California’s solar power operations is expected to spread to all renewable energy projects.

The California Unions for Reliable Energy touts itself as specializing in conventional and renewable energy projects, “while protecting the state’s air, land and water from pollution.”

The NYTimes article is here.

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3 Responses to “Labor troubles clouding solar industry’s sunny future”

  1. LEU Says:

    If you look close enough, you can tell the real motives behind the democRATS legislation.

  2. dgh Says:

    Just another sign that the democrats are pro union. Where else would they get their campaign monies? Why do the cater to only 19% of the labor workforce in the State of California? If the unions control the solar market then they control the cost. Oh but wait, that’s seems to be working so well in Cali where they can’t even agree on a budget due in part to the unions. Let’s level the playing field so that all of the workers in the state have an equal and fair chance to compete for work not based on union pressure tactics.

  3. jpm Says:

    Politicians always talk about how they want to create jobs, but I guess non-union jobs don’t count! How sad that politics trumps economic development. Ausra should publicize loudly that they are building their plant in another state like Nevada because the State of California was forcing them to hire unionized employees.

    The unions are the first to scream bloody murder when companies close and make products oversees, but they’re apparently not willing to see any open unless it’s on their terms.

    Why do you think Obama is so pro “green”? It’s the unions talking (and funding his campaign).



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