The LPDD team is excited to announce the publication of new model legislation on occupational wage and benefit standards in clean energy legislation. This important work turns its eye towards spreading the economic benefits of clean energy investment, a key concern for legislators and advocates. This model legislation was drafted by Stephanie Phillips of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, resident in the firm’s Seattle office. Peer review was provided by Robert B. Stulberg and Patrick J. Walsh of Stulberg & Walsh LLP in New York City, as well as Michael Burger, Executive Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. The model law is available to view here.
Excerpted from the introductory memorandum to the model law:
In order to promote the continued growth of the clean energy economy and ensure that this growth creates (a) secure, high quality jobs that promote equity and social well-being, (b) stable labor markets, and (c) timely and reliable construction, maintenance, repair and operation systems, state policy-makers can help build occupational wage and benefit standards and apprentice training requirements into their existing and upcoming clean energy programs. This model legislation accomplishes just that.
Incorporating occupational wage and benefit standards into energy efficiency and renewable energy laws will, of course, be a state-specific exercise based on the structure of those programs and the types of statutes, regulations, and incentives already in effect in those states. Section 2 of the model legislation is drafted based on a Washington State policy, which offers a tax incentive for renewable energy projects that use certain labor standards, and should apply in most jurisdictions. Section 3 of the model legislation, on the other hand, is generically drafted to demonstrate how robust labor standards can be lifted out and applied to other types of statutes, regulations and incentives currently governing energy projects in the state. Determining what will be the most effective locus for these standards will depend on what types of incentive programs or state resources developers rely on in a particular state, what regulatory relief would be the most appealing to developers in that state, and what political support will be available from an array of stakeholders, including project developers, organized labor, climate activists, good government advocates, and electricity end users.
The memorandum accompanying this model legislation also surveys other existing state examples of occupational wage and benefit standards inserted into clean energy policy.