Renewable Energy Colorado

Turbines blow in the wind at an Xcel Energy wind farm on the Colorado-Wyoming border south of Cheyenne. Xcel Energy announced it would supply zero-carbon electricity by 2050 to customers in the eight states in which in operates.

A bill that would establish a training program for veterans entering careers in the energy industry passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner were co-sponsors of the Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act. The primary sponsor, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is a veteran herself.

“Our Energy Ready Vets Program will connect our veterans, who are already uniquely qualified to succeed in cutting-edge industries, with the clean energy industry that is quickly growing and seeking high skilled workers,” said Bennet in a statement.

Gardner added that the initiative will allow “qualified veterans to transition into the civilian workforce.”

The bill as introduced would direct the Secretary of Energy to work with the Department of Defense’s existing job training program to provide courses to recently discharged service members for employment in the energy sector. The bill specifically encourages the training to include solar, wind, and energy cybersecurity occupations.

Approximately 11% of the solar and wind energy workforces are veterans, according to the Department of Energy.

The 2017 Global Energy Talent Index Report noted that “four out of five hiring managers believe there is a skills shortage in the [renewable energy] sector compared to just under a third in oil and gas.”

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