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Sat May 27, 2017, 08:02 AM

A Chinese company is offering free training for US coal miners to become wind farmers



If you want to truly understand what’s happening in the energy industry, the best thing to do is to travel deep into the heart of American coal country, to Carbon County, Wyoming (yes, that’s a real place).

The state produces most coal in the US, and Carbon County has long been known (and was named) for its extensive coal deposits. But the state’s mines have been shuttering over the past few years, causing hundreds of people to lose their jobs in 2016 alone. Now, these coal miners are finding hope, offered from an unlikely place: a Chinese wind-turbine maker wants to retrain these American workers to become wind-farm technicians. It’s the perfect metaphor for the massive shift happening in the global energy markets.

The news comes from an energy conference in Wyoming, where the American arm of Goldwind, a Chinese wind-turbine manufacturer, announced the free training program. More than a century ago, Carbon County was home to the first coal mine in Wyoming. Soon, it will be the site of a new wind farm with hundreds of Goldwind-supplied turbines.

Goldwind sees the ex-miners as a font of the sort of technical knowledge—mechanical and electrical engineering, on par—with the experience of working in difficult conditions required to run and maintain a wind farm. Adapting coal-mining skills to wind farming seemed a natural fit. “If we can tap into that market 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,” David Halligan, chief executive of Goldwind Americas, told the New York Times.



The loss of coal jobs, in Wyoming and across the country, can be attributed partly to increasing mechanization and partly to the falling demand for coal. Despite Trump’s promise to bring back coal jobs, the department of labor reports that in the first quarter of 2017, there were 8% fewer coal jobs (more than 6,000 positions) compared to the same period the year before.

As the US’s largest coal supplier, Wyoming has to date resisted the rise of renewable energy—despite having some of the highest annual wind speeds and lowest population densities in the country, making it ideal for wind-farming. In fact, Wyoming is the only state in the US that levies taxes on wind-energy generation, a policy that’s scared away wind-farm developers, despite the billions of federal subsidy dollars available for them. But opportunities like the Goldwind project—while unlikely to absorb all coal miners who have lost their jobs—may change the narrative in Wyoming, so that it looks more like the one the world’s bought into.

https://qz.com/990192/a-chinese-company-wants-to-retrain-wyoming-coal-miners-to-become-wind-farmers/

Maybe Trump will have coal miners build the wall and have Mexico pay for it right after his super secret plan to defeat ISIS. Send natural gas back where it came from. Build a wall to keep out fracking.

Retraining for other skilled trade jobs is the way to do it. Coal jobs are never coming back.

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Reply A Chinese company is offering free training for US coal miners to become wind farmers (Original post)
IronLionZion May 2017 OP
OnDoutside May 2017 #1
RKP5637 May 2017 #2
IronLionZion May 2017 #3
RKP5637 May 2017 #4
IronLionZion May 2017 #5
BumRushDaShow May 2017 #6
IronLionZion May 2017 #7
BumRushDaShow May 2017 #8
Tanuki May 2017 #9
yardwork May 2017 #10
IronLionZion May 2017 #12
IronLionZion May 2017 #11

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Sat May 27, 2017, 08:06 AM

1. Embarrassing that it's the Chinese, not the US, doing this.

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Response to OnDoutside (Reply #1)

Sat May 27, 2017, 08:11 AM

2. I was thinking the same. n/t

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Response to OnDoutside (Reply #1)

Sat May 27, 2017, 08:11 AM

3. The US is promising to cut environmental regulations and get rid of immigrants

instead of anything that might actually help

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #3)

Sat May 27, 2017, 08:14 AM

4. That, is the type of retraining we were talking about in another post(s). Glad to see

something like this is happening. It could be happening all over. And whatever happened to rebuilding the infrastructure. Instead, we have this ass in the WH blundering around with his cohorts.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #4)

Sat May 27, 2017, 08:33 AM

5. There are job opportunities out there

and there are people who need jobs. Someone has to connect the two. We're not going to get that kind of leadership from the white house unfortunately.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Sat May 27, 2017, 09:12 AM

6. "Carbon County, Wyoming (yes, thats a real place)."

PA has had a "Carbon County" way before Wyoming became a state (and even before this Carbon County was established in that western territory).

And for the same reason - mining!



Slowly around that area and adjacent counties (as I saw a few years ago driving through on the way to Canada), there are wind turbines propped up along the hills....



It's almost otherworldly to see these if you haven't seen one outside of photos or videos.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #6)

Sat May 27, 2017, 09:20 AM

7. I grew up in rural western PA

and we got wind farms in the late 90s. The hilly mountain areas are very windy and suitable for windmills. And people need jobs.

These are majestic beauties


There are lots of opportunities for it if people would be supportive and there's available land.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #7)

Sat May 27, 2017, 09:36 AM

8. Yup

Both here in eastern PA and over yonder in western PA, the Appalachian mountains have provided a unique and ever-changing role for the folks living near and among them.

The one thing that needs to be added as a discussion point when it comes to PA though, is that Marcellus shale field out west, as that seems to be a bump in the road to moving to non-fossil fuels. And we can't even get it taxed to at least provide some significant revenue in the state coffers thanks to the GOP.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Sat May 27, 2017, 09:39 AM

9. That's pretty much what HRC offered (and then some) to do during

her campaign, but what she said was distorted and made into a "negative."

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #9)

Sat May 27, 2017, 10:05 AM

10. Yes! And now foreign states will take over our resources.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #10)

Sat May 27, 2017, 11:00 AM

12. They'll steal our wind?

What resources? For wind turbines, many of the parts and materials come from overseas but they would hire Americans to build and maintain it.

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #9)

Sat May 27, 2017, 10:56 AM

11. Republicans laugh openly about that

because at the time, coal miners didn't want to hear about training for new jobs. They wanted someone to spew some nonsense about job killing environmental regulations and false promises to bring back their high paying coal jobs. Republicans lied on purpose knowing it would work. They ridiculed training as a negative thing that makes you soft and weak.

Hillary offered them the only viable solution. But it would never be as high-paying or as plentiful as coal used to be back in the day so it was appealing to hear some bloviating jackass promise to bring back the old days even if deep down they must have known it isn't true.

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