ibew Archives - Shopfloor

Next Door to the Manufacturing Summit, the IBEW

By | Energy, Labor Unions | One Comment

It was nice to see the good folks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at the Hyatt Regency, where they were holding their annual construction and maintenance conference just as the NAM was holding its 2010 Manufacturing Summit.

There are plenty of points of disagreement, to be sure, but on issues like promoting nuclear power or Navy shipbuilding, manufacturers are happy to work with the IBEW. Jobs and electricity go hand in hand.

Nuclear Renaissance: Southern Co. Gains Key DOE Backing

By | Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

A news release from Southern Co., “Southern Company Receives DOE Support for Nation’s First Nuclear Units in 30 Years.” Excerpt:

ATLANTA, Feb. 16 — Southern Company today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has offered its subsidiary Georgia Power a conditional commitment for loan guarantees for the construction of the nation’s first nuclear power units in more than 30 years, a move designed to help spur a renaissance in America’s nuclear industry.

“We are honored by the administration’s confidence in our ability to build the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in more than three decades,” said Southern Company CEO David Ratcliffe, following an event at which President Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the award. “It’s an important endorsement in the role nuclear power must play in diversifying our nation’s energy mix and helping to curb greenhouse gas emissions.”

President Obama and Secretary Chu announced the commitment for the loan guarantees at a news conference held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26 in Lanham, Md.  Ratcliffe was joined at the event by Georgia Power CEO Mike Garrett, Southern Company COO Tom Fanning, Southern Nuclear CEO Jim Miller and Southern Company Executive Vice President Chris Womack.

President Obama’s remarks announcing the loan guarantees today in Lanham, Md.

[Through] the Department of Energy and Secretary Chu’s leadership, we are announcing roughly $8 billion in loan guarantees to break ground on the first new nuclear plant in our country in three decades — the first new nuclear power plant in nearly three decades.  (Applause.)

It’s a plant that will create thousands of construction jobs in the next few years, and some 800 permanent jobs — well-paying permanent jobs — in the years to come.  And this is only the beginning.  My budget proposes tripling the loan guarantees we provide to help finance safe, clean nuclear facilities -– and we’ll continue to provide financing for clean energy projects here in Maryland and across America.

Department of Energy news release, “Obama Administration Announces Loan Guarantees to Construct New Nuclear Power Reactors in Georgia

UPDATE (5:10 p.m.): From Clean Skies News, video of the President’s remarks.

If You Want to Talk Jobs, Let’s Talk Nuclear Power

By | Energy | No Comments

President Obama is expected to announce today federal loan guarantees under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for construction of two new reactor units at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle in Burke, Ga., south of Augusta.

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Obama to announce Georgia nuke loan guarantees today“:

An Obama official … confirmed the news to the AJC on Monday, saying the president would travel to Lanham, Md., today, where he will tour a training center that includes applications for clean energy and low-carbon technologies, including the construction of nuclear plants. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu will join the president on the tour.

AP and UPI report that the President’s trip is to a jobs training center housed at an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26 and the National Electrical Contractors Association site.

The Senate is expected to take up a “jobs bill” when it returns from the Presidents Day recess next week. If you’re talking jobs, policies that support nuclear power are a good way to go. From Southern Company’s website on the Plant Vogtle project:

Economic Impacts

  • Up to $14 billion of investment in the state of Georgia
  • 3,500 quality jobs during construction
  • 800 high-paying jobs for the life of the plant
  • Tax dollars to the local communities and the state over the expected 60-year life

Southern has much good information at its website, the section, “Building New Plants.”

State of the State: Kansas

By | Around the States, Energy | No Comments

Kansas Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, mentioned a manufacturing company during his State of the State address on Jan. 14, part of his brief overview of the state’s economic successes in the past year.

In September, a successful and nationally-known retailer, headquartered in Kearney, announced
an expansion of its distribution center using funding from Nebraska’s Community Development
Block Grant program. That same program is helping the communities of Aurora, Kearney, and
South Sioux City develop new industrial power park sites for future economic growth. Last
April, two central Nebraska companies announced a partnership that created 25 new jobs in
Central City producing custom made cabinets that had previously been manufactured in China.

Working with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, we used funding from Nebraska’s Worker Training program to build a wind tower training facility that will help prepare our workers for the future growth of Nebraska’s wind energy sector.

And that was pretty much it, manufacturing wise.

Strange Bedfellows in the Sunlight

By | Energy, Labor Unions | No Comments


The campaign for a new solar energy ballot measure in Los Angeles has raised more than $267,000, nearly two-thirds of it from groups affiliated with the union that represents Department of Water and Power employees, according to a report released Wednesday.

An International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local contributed $50,000 to support Measure B, a March ballot initiative to add 400 megawatts of solar panels throughout Los Angeles by 2014. The nation union, IBEW Education Committee, gave $75,000, the Times reports, and an IBEW astroturf group ponied up $45,000.

Critics say the unions are trying to force the city into a monopolistic arrangement that narrowly benefits their members but sticks it to Angelenos with higher electrical rates. But we were struck by this weird connection:

Backers of the solar plan say it will create good jobs and has support that extends beyond DWP employees to include groups such as the Coalition for Clean Air, the Sierra Club and the American Lung Assn

Right, sure, those reliable proponents of new electrical generation and transmission, the Sierra Club.

Organized labor is generally pretty good in promoting new energy projects, but in this case, they’re getting into bed with anti-energy zealots. The Sierra Club led the opposition to a solar energy project promoted by San Diego Gas & Electric because transmission lines offend their environmental sensitivities.

The Sierra Club filed a motion with the [California Public Utilities Commission] demanding that they require SDG&E to proceed with an EIR before any route is established. The Sierra Club stated that by determining the route in advance, the public and the CPUC would be conceding the need for the power link plan and avoiding the mandatory listing of alternative plans, including a “no-project” alternative that would compare the impacts to the environment if the Sunrise Powerlink plan was either approved or denied.

 “The alternatives discussed should focus on ways to avoid or substantially lessen the project’s significant environmental effects,” said Paul Blackburn of the San Diego Sierra Club.

Once an electrical-generation project moves beyond the theoretical stage into threatening to become reality, big-money green organizations like the Sierra Club go into action to prevent its completion. Why would the IBEW make common cause with a group that, history tells us, will eventually try to block the realistic steps needed for the project?

Government subsidies must be involved, but in the end, the IBEW is just hurting itself. Dumb.

(Hat tip: Jim Gray.)