Every time an industry hits its ending point, the No. 1 concern always is employment. This reaches as far back as the whaling industry when we used whale oil for our lighting. When Rockefeller came along with the kerosene industry over the next five years the whaling industry virtually ended. It was the same with the horse and carriage when along came the buggy, and as we know Henry Ford with the assembly line virtually put this business, well, out of business. Where did all of the workers go? Were they virtually laying in gutters across America looking for work wondering the streets? Of course not, they were retrained and went into the next growing industry. This scenario goes on and on, the telecom industry, radio into television, and on and on and on.
Well if this is the case then every time a radical shift for the betterment of mankind comes along everyone should be afraid for their jobs. Being in the renewable energy industry this is a topic that often comes up and it usually circles politics. These two industries—conventional generation and renewable energy generation—are so close in nature as they both produce energy, except from a different source that the basic infrastructure is the same. So the natural transition from one industry to another will be virtually seamless. There are very highly skilled workers in our utility that the renewable energy industry as it grows will gladly take on these workers that with very little training will be very valuable to our industry.
As a 100-year-old industry finally is transitioned out over the next few decades, the next energy industry takes over. It’s natural and it’s happened time and time again in every industry, but the difference here is it has to happen. The renewable energy industry—if it did not transition into the leader on the planet in energy—we would not have a planet. Sometimes we all struggle with how fast technology is moving and of course change, but believe me we need this to happen and as our industry grows we welcome the experience, skill, and hardworking utility employees.