Union wants Minnesota workers hired for wind farm construction

WORTHINGTON, Minn. — With several wind farm projects in development in southwest Minnesota and more on the way, it's an exciting time for area construction workers.

Laborers' International Union of North America Minnesota has identified 19 wind farm projects in development now or in the near future, including wind farms in Nobles, Jackson, Cottonwood, Rock and Pipestone counties.

Combined, they add up to more than 3,500 megawatts of wind generated power. As contractors typically hire one worker per megawatt, that's a lot of jobs.

Those in the industry believe the boom is driven by the soon-to-expire federal Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit, which gives a big boost to wind projects built by 2020.

"It's this incredible boom time and we feel that there's amazing opportunity to put folks to work and recruit people over the next few years," said Lucas Franco, research manager for laborers' union in Minnesota and North Dakota. "This kind of boom might only come around once and if we miss out on this opportunity, that's it."

 Full story here.