Wind Turbine Technician

DESCRIPTION
With the growing interest and demand for green energy technologies, jobs for skilled technicians are increasing. Wind turbine technicians are responsible for the construction, repair, maintenance and general operation of wind turbines.

Wind turbine technicians utilize their knowledge of wind energy, electrical principles, mathematics, and various technologies to troubleshoot and perform mechanical and electrical tasks on wind turbines that ensure their continued operation.
Specific job tasks that wind turbine technicians perform include the inspection, troubleshooting, repair and maintenance of all wind turbine parts such as turbine blades, gearboxes, speed control systems, converter systems, electrical circuits, generator systems and other related components. Wind turbine technicians must also be able to read and interpret technical manuals, blueprints and other drawings and schematics.

Wind turbine technicians use a variety of specialized tools and equipment such as voltage testers, multimeters and oscilloscopes to perform maintenance or repair tasks on wind turbines. They must be comfortable using computers and computer-assisted technology to collect and analyze data that can be used for research in addition to assessment of proper system functioning.

In addition to computer data analysis, wind turbine technicians must be good at general record-keeping and documentation as they are required to fill out reports and write and maintain service reports or logs.

Wind turbine technicians must be physically fit and have good manual dexterity to perform their job tasks. Working onsite on a wind turbine at a wind farm requires technicians to work outside in all types of weather for extended periods of time. Technicians must be able to climb to heights of 250+ feet to work on wind turbine components. At these extreme heights, wind turbine technicians must carefully follow special safety procedures and precautions.

Many technicians are required to frequently travel to various service areas to ensure wind turbine reliability and quality operation. Technicians may also be required to be on rotating shift schedules or “on-call” in case of emergency situations.

EMPLOYERS
Wind turbine technicians are usually employed by utility companies, construction companies, and private contractors.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
Some employers only require a high school diploma along with technical experience in electronics, mechanics and wind turbine technology. Other employers may require additional technical training, apprenticeship, or an associate degree in wind turbine technology.

LINKS TO CAREER/INDUSTRY RESOURCES
Climbing 300-Foot Wind Turbines for a Living: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUjCD-fFU9k
Get into Energy Career Profile: Technician: http://getintoenergy.com/utility-technician/
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): http://www.awea.org/
Careers in Wind Energy – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/green/wind_energy/
Wind Energy Colleges and Careers: http://learn.kidwind.org/learn/colleges_careers
Minnesota Energy Careers – Wind Pathways: http://www.iseek.org/industry/energy/careers/careers-in-wind.html
Wind Turbine Service Technicians, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgaD5b_bdzs
Wind Turbine Technician Academy, KVCC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPXk8NeZl_I

Images courtesy of OSHA and Sandia Laboratory

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