The majority of wind turbine service technicians, commonly known as windtechs, receive their education in a technical school. After being hired, they are also trained by their company.
The majority of windtechs learn their trade in technical schools or community colleges, where they often get certificates in wind energy technology, however some choose to pursue an associate’s degree.
Students can operate on onshore wind turbines as part of their courses at many technical colleges. Other areas of focus that reflect the many skill sets needed to execute the job, in addition to lab courses, include the following:
Windtechs often undergo more than 12 months of on-the-job training tailored to the individual wind turbines they will maintain and service, in addition to their coursework. Manufacturer training is included in this program. An internship with a wind turbine servicing provider could be another option for additional training.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Professional certification, while not required, can demonstrate a basic level of knowledge and competency. Some firms prefer to hire employees who have already received certification in areas like workplace electrical safety, tower climbing, and self-rescue. Many organizations provide certificates in each of these disciplines, and these certifications are included in some certificate and degree programs.
Communication abilities To perform their responsibilities safely and successfully, windtechs rely on effective communication with their teammates.
I am a meticulous person. All of the services provided by windtechs must be documented. Precision measurements, a rigorous order of activities, and various safety precautions are all required for turbine maintenance.
Mechanical aptitudes. Windtechs must be familiar with and capable of maintaining and repairing a turbine’s mechanical, hydraulic, braking, and electrical systems.
Physical endurance. Windtechs must be able to climb to the tops of turbines with tools and equipment, which they frequently do. Some tower ladders can reach heights of 260 feet or more.
Physical stamina. Windtechs are required to lift large equipment, parts, and tools, some weighing more than 50 pounds.
Problem-solving abilities. Windtechs are responsible for diagnosing and repairing faults. When a turbine malfunctions, specialists must figure out why and make the necessary repairs.
What qualifications do wind turbine technicians require?
Although some wind technicians work on new wind turbines, the majority of their time is spent maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing existing ones, notably the nacelles, which house the generators.
- Electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems are all subjected to testing.
- Underground transmission lines, wind field substations, and fiber optic sensing and control systems are all examples of services.
Maintenance schedules are generally dictated by operating hours, although they can also differ by manufacturer. Most manufacturers now recommend annual maintenance, which includes component visual inspections, fastener torque checks, and part lubrication. Typical maintenance for year-round turbines is one to three times a year, and turbines are monitored electronically 24 hours a day from a central office. Wind technicians must travel to the jobsite if a problem is discovered and execute any necessary troubleshooting, repair, or service.
Climbing and inspecting many turbines is a typical day’s labor. Computers are used by technicians to diagnose electrical problems. Any issues they discover throughout the evaluation are reported and scheduled to be fixed.
The nacelle, which houses the drive train components and sensitive electronics, is where technicians perform the majority of their maintenance work. Wind technicians must be able to operate in limited locations, such as inside the nacelles, hubs, and rotors, because nacelles are made very compactly. Shafts, bearings, gears, and other machinery are cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis by turbine professionals. They also troubleshoot any electrical defects in the control cabinets, generator, and other onboard electrical and electronic systems with handheld power tools and electrical measurement devices.
Wind technicians are required to work outside, on the nacelle’s top. They may, for example, be required to replace wind speed and direction equipment or work with giant cranes to repair or replace components. Turbine technicians working outside can be hundreds of feet in the air and must maintain a high level of safety. They work while wearing full body fall protection harnesses attached to correctly certified tie off points on the nacelle and moving cautiously.
The site’s administration is also the responsibility of the wind technicians. On a major wind farm, these specialists may be in charge of anywhere from one to hundreds of turbines. They are in charge of ordering spare parts and ensuring that there is a sufficient inventory of parts on hand for needed repairs, as well as the day-to-day operations of the turbine.
All systems of the wind turbine, including structural, mechanical, electrical, controls, communications, electronic components, hydraulic systems, and environmental safety and health systems, are familiar to wind technicians. The following abilities are required:
- Mechanical aptitudes. Wind technicians must be familiar with and capable of maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing a turbine’s mechanical, hydraulic, braking, and electrical systems.
- Physical endurance. Wind technicians must be able to ascend to the height of the turbine nacelle using ladder systems, typically with tools and equipment. Some tower ladders can reach heights of 260 feet or more. As a result, wind technicians should be able to operate for extended periods of time without becoming fatigued.
- Physical stamina. With large equipment, parts, and tools, wind technicians must lift and climb. Some of them are above 45 pounds.
- Problem-solving abilities. Technicians working in the wind industry must diagnose and remedy issues. Technicians must discover the cause of a turbine’s failure to generate power before making the necessary repairs.
- Comfortable in restricted areas and at heights. Turbines that are at least 260 feet tall are frequently repaired by service specialists. In order to access mechanical components of the turbine, technicians must also work in limited spaces.
- Documentation. When doing inspections and repairs, wind technicians must document and submit reports on the outcomes of testing, inspections, repairs, and any problems they discover. Their reports must be written in a clear and well-organized manner so that others may understand them.
Is it worthwhile to train as a wind turbine technician?
Do you want to work in one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States? Do you enjoy a good challenge and don’t mind heights? Consider a career as a wind turbine technician if this describes you. Let’s take a look at what a wind turbine technician performs, where they work, and whether they’re in high demand before we go at what they do.
The technique of generating electricity from the wind, which is a natural occurrence in the earth’s atmosphere, is known as wind energy. When the wind blows by a wind turbine, the blades collect the kinetic energy of the wind and convert it to mechanical energy through rotation. An internal shaft attached to a gearbox located in the nacelle rotates as a result of the revolution. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the gearbox rotates a generator that generates power (AWEA).
The term “wind farm” refers to a large number of wind turbines that are built near together. A wind farm, like a regular power station, distributes its electricity to the grid. Once the wind energy hits the grid, utilities will transfer the electricity to consumers who require power through the power lines.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines. Technicians who work on wind turbines often do the following tasks:
- Electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic components and systems are troubleshooted and tested.
One of the fastest growing occupations in the United States is wind turbine technician. Wind turbine technicians, like many other allied health professions, are expected to rise by 61 percent over the next decade. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for a Wind Turbine Technician is $52,910 (based on May 2019 BLS data), with those with more experience earning up to $80,150. Technicians for wind turbines are also in high demand. One of the fastest growing industries in the United States is clean energy. Although wind energy cannot provide all of the world’s electricity, it is an important part of the total electrical system.
According to the USGS, there are about 57,000 wind turbines in the United States alone, with an additional 3,000 being installed each year. Wind turbine technicians are in high demand due to technological advancements and the need for greener energy. Wind turbine technicians are needed to service the many wind turbines that are being installed across the country. They are built not just on land, but also offshore, similar to oil rigs. Maintenance, monitoring, and repair are required for all wind turbines. This is where you enter the picture.
The number of wind turbines has been increasing across the United States. They can be discovered wherever the air conditioners are working properly and there is plenty of breeze. There are numerous rural wind farms that provide clean electricity to major cities. Texas, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, and Illinois, in descending order, have the most wind turbines. MIAT is an excellent place to learn the ropes as a wind turbine mechanic, with a campus near Houston, Texas.
Technicians for wind turbines mostly work outside and can climb ladders up to 260 feet tall. They put on protective gear and rappel from the nacelle to the blade part that needs to be serviced. Wind turbine specialists may now monitor the performance of wind turbines from afar using a laptop and an Internet connection, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).
Most wind turbine technician programs take less than a year to finish. In just seven months, a full-time student at MIAT can become an entry-level wind turbine technician. You will know about wind turbine tools, rigging, welding, AC and DC electrical theory, renewable energy sources, hydraulics, and gears as a graduate of this program. Smaller class sizes and one-on-one attention from industry experts are to be expected. Wind turbine technicians are in high demand, and you want a rewarding profession. It’s a win-win situation.
A career as a wind turbine mechanic may be perfect for you if you can climb high and think quickly on your feet. You’ll spend the majority of your time learning about new technical advancements outside of the office. Is there anything greater than that? After graduating from MIAT’s wind turbine technician program, you can start working in as short as 7 months. Begin a career in a profession that is expanding and will continue to be in demand for decades.
MIAT’s mission is to develop graduates who, as a result of the basic knowledge they obtain at MIAT, are at the top of their initial on-the-job training.
Fill out the form on this page to learn more about Energy Technology career training and to see if MIAT is appropriate for you.
How much does it cost to repair a wind turbine?
What Does a Wind Turbine Technician Get Paid? In 2020, the median income for Wind Turbine Technicians was $56,230. That year, the top 25 percent earned $68,920, while the bottom 25 percent earned $46,270.
What is the average time it takes to become a wind turbine engineer?
Education. Technical schools are where most windtechs learn their trade. Wind turbine technician associate’s degree programs typically last two years and are available at technical schools and community colleges.
How does one go about becoming a wind engineer?
A bachelor’s degree in energy engineering, mechanical engineering, or another relevant branch of engineering from an ABET-accredited program is required by most employers. Many occupations, however, necessitate a master’s degree, and some even necessitate a doctorate degree.
Because experience is required for any engineering employment, it is highly suggested that undergraduate students participate in an internship or cooperative program. Before working for a wind turbine manufacturer, wind energy engineers may need to work in their profession for three to five years. They usually receive considerable on-the-job training once they start working.
Is working for a wind turbine a smart career choice?
Working on turbines not only provided a technical aspect, from hydraulics to composites, but it also provided decent salary and benefits, as well as the opportunity to travel. Wind turbine technicians are expected to rise by 68.2 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is wind energy a viable career option?
Wind energy is one of the most rapidly expanding job areas in the United States. In the United States, wind energy output has exceeded coal, and the job sector is expanding. Jobs in the renewable energy sector pay well. Almost all wind farms and turbine operators are GWO members, and demand for our GWO training courses shows that the industry is rapidly expanding. C
Is there a demand for wind turbine technicians?
Wind turbine technicians’ employment is expected to expand by 68 percent between 2020 and 2030, substantially faster than the average for all occupations. Over the next ten years, an average of 1,400 openings for wind turbine technicians are expected.
Is it difficult to work as a wind turbine technician?
The wind business is all around you if you live in Abilene, Texas. I was looking for job in a technical profession as a retired Army officer and student at the FAA Airframe and Power Plant Technician School. I learned about a job opportunity with GE at a career fair and applied for a technician position right after.
I worked as a wind technician for four years, and every day was different. I worked on a troubleshooting team, where I spent my days as a “industrial detective” trying to figure out what was wrong with the turbines. I’d be assigned to a turbine that was having problems, and I’d spend my time trying to figure out why it wasn’t functioning. There was a lot of climbing and a lot of traveling involved. The work was difficult, but it was also extremely fulfilling and delightful. At Panther Creek in West Texas, where we service 305 turbines, I currently oversee a team of 32 technicians.
On a typical day, I arrive at work around 6:30 a.m. and begin planning my day. We decide what tasks must be completed and who will be assigned to which turbines. We have an environment, health, and safety meeting when the team arrives, we plan for the weather, we discuss special projects, and then the crew is sent out to conduct the day’s job.
Borescope checks, gearbox repairs, blade repairs, and pitch battery change outs are just a few of the special projects available on our site. Working as a site manager necessitates extensive communication with customers to ensure that they are informed about everything that is going on on the job site, as well as the status of maintenance and special projects. Managing a team of specialists also necessitates ensuring that the work is finished completely while adhering to all environmental, health, and safety regulations.
Working as a technician is physically taxing, especially for those over the age of 50. It’s difficult to work long hours, climb turbines several times a day, and deal with high heat in the summer and cold in the winter. Then there’s the mental anguish of working in a demanding management role. We talk about being an industrial athlete a lot in this industry, which means you have to take care of your physical health, well-being, and train your body for the job.
The individuals you get to work with are one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. People that work in the wind sector are dedicated, passionate, helpful, and generally enjoyable to be around. I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic colleague with whom I worked for three years as a troubleshooting technician. We worked as a team on the field, addressing difficult difficulties and keeping an eye out for one another in an industry that is inherently risky.
Furthermore, overcoming challenging problems in the field was quite fulfilling. It’s satisfying to work hard to find an issue and then figure out how to address it. And working in the wind sector allows you to solve those puzzles outside, in the countryside, with your hands it’s a fantastic sensation.
How do you keep up with emerging technologies, such as General Electric’s universal gearbox?
Technicians are frequently called in to assist with the commissioning of new GE technology locations. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the new features available in new units. GE also gives technicians with frequent training to introduce new technologies and techniques.
Being a wind technician necessitates a unique personality. You must be physically capable of coping with the strain that climbing the turbine places on your body, as well as mentally capable of overcoming technical hurdles on the apparatus. There is also a great deal of danger. GE has a number of policies in place to keep employees safe. They do their best, but the technicians in the field are the ones who live it every day and must enforce safe work procedures.
What advice would you provide to new wind technicians or those seeking a career in the field?
I’d tell them that it’s a tremendously gratifying and pleasurable career. Give it your best shot if you think it’s right for you. Internship programs, such as those offered by GE, are a terrific way to test the waters and get a taste of what your career or employment would entail.
Despite the fact that the wind industry is evolving, I do not believe it will vanish or be forgotten. Wind power, in my opinion, is here to stay. WPE