Written by: Cynthia Leis, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development
With wind turbines erupting across the U.S., so will training programs to certify technicians to repair and maintain their ability to produce energy. According to the Department of Energy, wind energy is now the fastest growing source of power in the United States, representing 43 percent of all new U.S. electric generation capacity in 2012 and $25 billion in new investment.
In Van Wert, Ohio, the Blue Creek Wind Farm is one of the largest operating wind farms in the state. The Blue Creek Wind Farm uses 152 utility scale turbines, each generating two megawatts of energy for a total output of 304 megawatts. Van Wert Blue Creek Wind Farm is not alone in the wind energy sector in the state, according to the executive director for Green Energy Ohio, the capacity is expected to grow in the future with eight more wind farms now approved to be built in Ohio.
With the constant exposure to the environmental elements, the turbines require a great deal of repair and maintenance vital to the continued efficiency and operation of each turbine. Technical career centers and other educational institutions have identified a growing need for programs to provide individuals with the skills required to fill future positions for wind turbine technician jobs.
Several courses, classes and certificate programs are becoming available at career centers such as Vantage Career Center in Van Wert, Ohio. Although these programs are built from existing industrial skills training courses, the emphasis in the wind turbine maintenance certificate program include advanced skills in electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and control systems.
According to many experts in the field of wind energy, the increased opportunities for wind turbine technicians also indicate there are more jobs and careers becoming available in the personal and commercial wind turbine applications as the future for renewable energy continues to be a priority.