While political rhetoric often pits energy producers against each other, we like to see the kinds of cross-training emerging nationwide to help energy workers develop skills in more than one sector.
Check out this recent report in The Denver Post about efforts to help unemployed coal miners in rural Delta County, Colo., make inroads into the solar industry. The effort is funded in part by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which in April provided a $401,000 matching grant to Solar Energy International. The nonprofit organization started an initiative to train unemployed miners — and also American military veterans and workers furloughed from the oil and gas industries.

Job training does not, of course, guarantee a job — but it certainly increases a worker’s skills and abilities to develop innovative new products and services. It also helps them understand how to forge business partnerships between utilities and renewable-energy companies, such as the federal SunShot Initiative, which funds “cooperative research, development, demonstration and deployment projects by private companies, universities, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and national laboratories.” The initiative’s goal is to drive down the cost of solar electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour or $1 per watt (not including incentives).

Reputable training in renewable energy sectors is plentiful — but so are money-making schemes promising instruction and professional credentials that don’t hold much value. To help ensure people find the best instruction for their financial investment, we recommend their searches start with this handy online guide from the U.S. Department of Energy and this digital map with a downloadable list of training programs nationwide.

Ensight Energy is a Denver-based consulting firm providing project management and technical advisory solutions to the power, energy and renewable-energy industries. Contact us for support of your needs with technical due diligence during all phases of your project’s development.