President Donald Trump has announced his intention to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Pact, but private companies and other entities are taking on the challenge of clean energy themselves.
Goldwind Americas, a subsidiary of a leading Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer, continues to expand in the United States and it has eyed Wyoming as a site for expansion.
That state, however, is not very friendly to wind farms; it has even taken to taxing wind-energy generation in an effort to protect its coal miners.
But, Goldwind Americas is specifically seeking coal workers for permanent positions, and has announced a free retraining program for miners to become wind-farm technicians.
The program is called Goldwind Works and may begin as soon as next month with a series of informational meetings and safety training.
Goldwind is currently sorting out plans for up to 850 wind turbines in Wyoming, and the resulting wind farm will require 200 workers on site.
Chief executive David Halligan told The New York Times he expects coal miners to have relevant skills, particularly electrical and mechanical systems.
“If we can tap into that market," he said, "and also help out folks that might be experiencing some challenges in the workforce today, I think that it can be a win-win situation."
“If you’re a wind technician, you obviously can’t be afraid of heights. You have to be able to work at heights, and you have to be able to work at heights in a safe manner.”
Goldwind Americas' determination could tap into a surge of wind power expected by analysts to occur in coming years.
National employment for mining and geological engineers is expected to grow 6 percent between 2014 and 2024.
Wind-farm technician jobs similarly are projected to grow more than 100 percent over the next 10 years.
Coal, by Flicker user oatsy40 (Used Under CC License)
In Europe, wind energy-capacity now exceeds the total output of electric power plants fueled by coal.
Europe also invested $30 billion into renewable energy sources last year.
As for America, the Wyoming wind farm projects could spur thousands of construction jobs and create additional support positions.
Overall employment in the U.S. coal sector, meanwhile, has fallen considerably for the last three decades.
The U.S. Census said that in 2014, the nation's coal industry employed 76,500 people—including not only miners but office workers, sales staff, and others.
That's fewer people than the museum industry (92,000), the Arby's fast-food chain alone (almost 80,000), and roughly on a par with the recreational skiing industry (75,000).