Doing our part to build the clean energy workforce of the future
Enel remains committed to powering the clean energy revolution, from actively hiring across our North American business lines to reskilling workers in local communities.
The last month has uprooted lives across North America, as COVID-19 forced businesses to close their doors and professionals to adjust to working from home. The pandemic’s impact has been felt across nearly every area of society: U.S. unemployment is projected to reach 30%, and questions about the future of the global economy plague investors.
In this age of uncertainty, renewable energy continues to show its resilience as the industry remains positioned for continued, sustainable growth.
Renewable energy continues to power ahead
Renewable energy capacity reached record levels in 2019 and that trend is expected to continue thanks to ambitious state policies, falling technology prices, and increased demand from the private sector.
For investors, wind and solar projects tend to be seen as safe investments during times of economic uncertainty. Renewable energy contracts are known for stable returns and relatively low risk, given that these long-term contracts sell electrical output to utilities and companies with good credit ratings.
According to BNEF, corporate power purchasing activity continues to climb. Companies announced just under 1GW of clean energy deals in March, bringing total volumes to 2.4GW in 2020: up from 2.1GW this time last year. As these corporations continue to invest in clean energy resources and developers expand their capacity to meet the demand, the workforce is positioned to grow. For the past two years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that full-time roles such as wind turbine technicians have grown well above average year-over-year, and oftentimes offer long-term training programs and transferable skill sets.
Enel Green Power’s role in building the clean energy workforce of the future
During this unprecedented time, Enel is reaffirming on our commitment to building the clean energy workforce of the future. We’re actively hiring across our North American business lines and are continuing job training to reskill workers in local communities.
The company currently has 75 positions open and expects to open another 134 new positions across functions over the course of the year. These roles include 74 new jobs in Operations and Maintenance, comprising positions at our corporate offices as well as in the local communities in which our renewable projects operate.
Beyond being at the forefront of energy innovation, the growing clean energy industry provides people an opportunity to build long, stable careers and maintain the peace of mind that they’ll have a consistent source of income to support their families while helping build a better planet.
Retraining workers to succeed in the renewable energy industry
The American energy landscape has been changing since long before the global pandemic. Uncertainty has plagued the traditional energy industry over the last decade, while renewables are experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. This has left a large swath of job seekers considering a switch to the clean energy industry. In fact, in the last two years, wind turbine technician and solar installer are the United States’ two fastest-growing jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To help meet this growing workforce need, Enel Green Power invests in scholarship programs targeted to the rural communities that host our projects. In North Dakota, we offer scholarships to students of Lake Region State College in Devils Lake interested in pursuing a career as a wind turbine technician. Enel sponsors similar programs at Northeast Community College in Nebraska and Cloud County Community College in Kansas, among others. We’ve even helped reopen a shuttered historic institution – Tarkio Technology Institute in Missouri – establishing a new wind energy program to generate career opportunities for neighbors of our two wind farms in the area.
For Jesse Puckett, senior manager of community relations at Enel Green Power based in Oklahoma, the transition to the clean energy industry was an easy switch. In July 2019, having spent years as a health and safety specialist in oil and gas, he was ready for a career change and began to research opportunities in the local wind industry. What he discovered supported that this was the right time to consider a move to renewables – Oklahoma was the second highest state, behind Texas, in terms of growth in the amount of wind-generated energy in the past decade. Not only that, Enel Green Power was actively recruiting job seekers from the oil and gas industry with transferable skills and Jesse found the company’s values firmly aligned with his own.
I work for a company that protects the environment. I work for a company that supports its employees and provides opportunities for landowners. And I work for a company that has experienced a lot of growth and, with that, wants to help the community through educational opportunities and charitable work. I’m proud to be a small part of a company making a big impact in the US and globally.
Jesse Puckett, Senior Manager of Community Relations, Enel Green Power
Renewable energy has a critical role to play in building a more resilient society that can weather the challenges of the coming years. Through all of today’s uncertainty, we remain steadfast in our goal of moving towards a more sustainable future.