Nobody said being a wind turbine technician was easy. First, there is the training program you must go through. Training can be hard because of the subject matter. A traditional power plant will have maintenance technicians, mechanics, electrical technicians, instrument technicians, and several other job titles specific to a certain function. With a wind turbine technician, all of that knowledge is rolled into one job description.
It can also be physically hard. Have you ever climbed a 26 story ladder? If you become a wind turbine technician you will. Do you deal well with heights? You absolutely cannot have a fear of heights in this job. Still, if you can overcome all of these challenges, a very lucrative career is waiting for you. Let’s take a look at an average day in the life of a wind turbine technician.
First and foremost, safety is the top priority at every step. Wind turbine technicians always work in pairs, and are constantly aware of their personal safety and safety equipment. This means when you are working on a turbine, you are always ‘clipped in’ – or attached to the turbine so you cannot fall. A hard hat and safety glasses are a must at all times as well.
Turbines are always turned off before a technician makes the climb, and the climb is a tough one – straight up a ladder, usually at least 200 feet long. The entire way up, you and your partner are constantly adjusting clips to ensure you are safe at all times. Once you reach the top, it is out into the open air on top of the turbine, and into a hatch where the actual work is done. This is the part where a fear of heights can really doom a person. But for those who do not have this fear, they are treated to a spectacular view.
Once in the hatch, it is time to get to work. At this point, you and your partner can begin to make any repairs needed. However, most of the time it is just general servicing that is needed. Some of the typical service tasks involve tightening hundreds of bolts that can vibrate loose during normal turbine operation, checking fluid levels, changing out different filters, cleaning, and inspecting the different parts to ensure no repair is necessary. A well maintained wind turbine is the key to wind farms staying productive and profitable, so these routine tasks are very important.
Once finished, it is time to begin climbing down. This step is much quicker than the climb up, but it is just as important to stay clipped in and not to rush down the ladder. Once again, safety is first priority.
These steps are the things a technician can expect to do on a typical day at the wind farm. While the job can be demanding physically and requires knowledge of several different disciplines, it is well worth it. Wind farms are always looking for more technicians as they continue to expand. Perhaps this is the job for you?
If you want to learn more, check out Mike Rowe’s ‘Dirty Jobs’ episode where he spends a day as a Wind Farm Technician.