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Wind Turbine Technician – One of the Fastest Growing Careers

If you are considering a career as a Wind Turbine Technician, you are in luck, because this career path is projected to be the fastest growing job through 2024.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number Wind Turbine Technician jobs will more than double over the next 8-10 years:

There are only about 4,400 such workers now, and the federal agency expects the jobs to increase 108 percent, to 9,200 workers.

The growth is largely due to the expansion of wind energy through new installations of wind turbines, but also the ongoing maintenance needed for these machines as they are installed.

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World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm to be Built in Japan

japan-fukushima-to-build-worlds-largest-wind-farmIn the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country’s nuclear power plants, Japan has decided to go in a completely different direction with its energy policy.

This July, construction will begin on what will become the world’s largest offshore wind farm.  The farm will consist of 143 wind turbines, which in total will generate 1 gigawatt of renewable power for the country.  Construction is expected to be completed by the year 2020.  This farm will be located 16 kilometers off of the coast of Fukushima, which is home to the widely publicized Daiichi nuclear reactor.  This reactor was badly damaged during the tsunami, and is still not functional today.

The tsunami of 2011 forced the shutdown of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors.  To date, only two have resumed operations.

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A Different Kind of Wind Energy Job

When most people think about jobs in wind energy, they think of technicians and engineers, hundreds of feet in the air working on giant windmills.  While these types of jobs are out there and are certainly a very good career option, there are other ways to enter the field of wind energy without climbing  these gigantic turbines.  One of those ways is to work in a wind turbine monitoring station.  These stations are often called Remote Operations Centers (ROCs for short), and they are the brains behind these giant wind farms.

In a typical ROC, you will find dozens of technicians monitoring the data output from thousands of wind turbines.  This data is collected real-time, and is used to analyze everything going on with each individual turbine.  The overall goals of the ROC are twofold.  The first is to keep wind turbines running efficiently as possible, so that the investment made into the turbine is maximized, along with the amount of power generated.  The second is to identify any potential issues with the turbines before they become more significant, which can result in an outage.  Companies like General Electric, which built about half of the turbines in the United States today, do everything they can to keep their turbine fleet at 98% capacity or higher.  Preventing breakdowns before they happen is a huge part of this.

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