- Mar 22, 2021 3:36 pm GMT
An interesting analysis of why there are so few unions in the renewable energy industry and what President Biden's target of zero emissions by 2035 means for worker unions. Collective bargaining could lead to higher wages for workers and bump up costs for renewable energy companies. The industry is also not as dangerous to workers as the fossil fuel industry, which boasts a higher rate of unionization. From the article: The 2019 median annual wage for solar photovoltaic installers was $44,890, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the median annual wage for wind turbine service technicians was $52,910. Comparatively, jobs in the fossil fuel power sector pay between $70,310 and $81,460. Proposed legislation in both Houses could tie investment tax credits to higher wages for workers and unionization.
The article does not mention the effect of technology on unionization. The renewable energy industry requires fewer on-the-ground workers as compared to the fossil fuel industry. Artificial intelligence, robots, and remote work are already obviating the need for human-intensive processes. Even if unions are formed and workers get higher wages, the nature of work itself has changed and I think there will be fewer workers, performing more specialized tasks, in the energy industry going forward.