November 5, 2015
Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 252 in Michigan has created a green-energy apprenticeship at its training center in Ann Arbor. The building has two new 30-foot wind turbines and a bank of 60 solar panels at its entrance, capable of providing 16.8 kilowatts of solar electricity and 2.4 KW of wind power.
This year, they’ve produced 17.3 megawatts of electricity and reduced the apprentices’ energy bills by 60%. “All the training that you find here for apprentices and journeymen and women embraces the goal of offering the best-trained workforce possible,” said Mike Crawford, head of the Michigan chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association. Local 252 has worked on every DTE Energy solar project in its jurisdiction, which covers all or part of four counties north and west of Detroit. Union workers recently completed a 1.1-megawatt solar array at Domino’s Farm near Ann Arbor, and in August, it announced an 800-KW solar array planned for Ypsilanti.