Unique Careers - Wind Turbine Technician
What is a Wind Turbine?
A wind turbine is a device that harnesses the power of wind energy to convert kinetic energy into mechanical energy.
There are three basic uses for these devices.
When the converted mechanical energy is utilized to produce electricity, it is referred to as a wind generator.
When the converted mechanical energy is utilized to power machinery it is referred to as a windmill.
The devices can be vertical axis or horizontal axis, but the horizontal axis wind turbine is the most prevalent.
What Does a Wind Turbine Technician Do?
There are three basic parts of a wind turbine:
- A rotor (blades)
- A nacelle that houses the drive train, a gearbox, and a generator, although some designs do not utilize a gearbox
- A tower that offers support
A wind turbine technician, or wind tech, is responsible for repairing and maintaining these parts. They must follow strict safety precautions because they often work in tight spaces, with high voltage equipment, and at extremely elevated heights.
In addition, a wind turbine technician must be agreeable to working at odd hours, and in remote locations. When a turbine is down, they must respond, regardless to the time of day or night.
Wind techs generally are assigned to specific wind turbine farms or they work for wind turbine manufacturers.
If you have ever driven across country, or in outer lying areas, you have probably noticed thousands of these monolithic devices.
When you see them grouped together in one specific location you are probably looking at a wind farm. A wind farm can be onshore or offshore.
The unwritten industry standard is that there needs to be a wind tech for every ten turbines. This creates a large amount of jobs in the wind industry.
Wind turbine jobs will be the most plentiful in states where the most wind farms are present:
Jobs in the wind industry are green jobs, and the growing interest in green jobs and “going green” will serve to strengthen the industry.
Career Training and Certification
Training for a career as a wind turbine technician can be obtained from community colleges and specific career training programs across the country.
Wind turbine manufacturers often offer on the job training to individuals, particularly to individual with other forms of electrical experience.
Because this field is relatively new, as of November 26, 2011 there is no standard certification process
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anecdotal information, wind turbine technicians start at approximately $15 per hour and can increase up to more than $50 per hour with experience.
A Day In The Life of a Wind Turbine Technician
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