EDF Renewables Australia will collaborate with Australian unions in an effort to maximise local employment and training opportunities on the Hunter Offshore Wind Zone.
EDF Renewables Australia which acquired the Newcastle Offshore Wind Farm in February, is one of 14 consortiums that have applied for a feasibility licence in the zone.
The Electrical Trades Union, Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union recently signed a letter of collaboration with the French-based renewable energy company.
The letter outlines a shared commitment to working together to ensure that local workers are equipped with the skills and opportunities to participate in the construction and continuous operation of the proposed offshore wind farm within Hunter zone.
EDF Renewables chief executive Dave Johnson said the collaboration was one of the many steps the company would take to ensure jobs stay local as offshore wind projects are developed in Australia.
"A capable, strong and most importantly a local workforce is going to be critical for the success of the Newcastle Offshore Wind Project and EDF Renewables Australia acknowledge this from the get-go," he said.
The company believes the project would create a "substantial number of jobs" in the manufacturing, construction, installation trades and service sectors over 35 years.
The two unions represent about 200,000 workers across the electrical and communications, power, manufacturing, diving, ferries, towage, offshore oil and gas, port services, shipping, stevedoring, and construction sectors.
Newcastle branch secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (a division of the CFMMEU) Glen Williams said EDF's commitment would give certainty to Lower Hunter workers and their communities.
"It gives maritime workers in the Port of Newcastle and skilled seafarers and oil and gas workers all over the country the confidence they need that the energy transition will deliver quality employment," he said.
"It gives them the confidence to talk to their neighbours and their football clubs and fishing clubs to address any concerns they have about what this exciting new technology means for them."
NSW/ACT Electrical Trades Union branch secretary Allen Hicks said a cooperative approach between unions and employers would achieve a fast and fair transition of the energy system.
"EDF Renewables has proven it has the capacity to deliver successful sustainable energy projects around the world, and we're happy to be able to work with them to ensure our members have the skills and opportunities to gain quality, secure employment, should they be successful in gaining a licence," he said.
The next steps for the collaboration will be to identify the skills needed across the project, ensure that the relevant Australian qualifications framework and training facilities are in place.