Friday, June 19, 2009

What Price Alternative Energy? Look For the Union Label.

BrightSource Energy, which built a solar generating complex in the Negev Desert in Israel, above, has similar plans for California

A Move to Put the Union Label on Solar Power Plants

Published: June 18, 2009

SACRAMENTO — When a company called Ausra filed plans for a big solar power plant in California, it was deluged with demands from a union group that it study the effect on creatures like the short-nosed kangaroo rat and the ferruginous hawk.

By contrast, when a competitor, BrightSource Energy, filed plans for an even bigger solar plant that would affect the imperiled desert tortoise, the same union group, California Unions for Reliable Energy, raised no complaint. Instead, it urged regulators to approve the project as quickly as possible.

One big difference between the projects? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labor-friendly contractors.

Balance of article: The New York Times

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