AUGUSTA — The Legislature gave bipartisan approval Tuesday to a bill to support the creation of a strong renewable energy workforce in Maine sponsored Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport.
As amended, LD 1969 contributes to Maine’s clean energy transition and workforce development by implementing three primary provisions.
The bill establishes a certified pre-apprenticeship program, the first of its kind in the state. It additionally requires contractors and subcontractors of renewable energy projects that are at least two megawatts and receive state assistance, also known as assisted projects, to pay workers the prevailing rate for wages and benefits unless paying the apprentice rate to those enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program.
Lastly, the bill specifies that when taking bids for assisted projects, the Public Utilities Commission may consider whether the bidder has secured a project labor agreement and whether the entity is employee-owned.
“With these structures in place, we will take the renewable energy construction boom that is currently taking place and use it to not only address climate change, but also to help create the workforce that we need,” said Cuddy. “By applying the state’s prevailing wage to these assisted projects we will ensure a basic level of dignity for the women and men building our clean energy future. Should this become law, it will be a huge win for our state and our workers.”
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
Cuddy, a member of the Labor and Housing Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, is serving his second term in the Maine House. He represents the communities of Frankfort, Searsport, Swanville and Winterport.