Wind Power Industry
If you mention the word windmill, people immediately think of Don Quixote or Holland. However, Wind Farms are expanding all over the American, and international landscapes. Consequently, wind energy employment opportunities are growing in number. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines.
A Wind Farm is, simply, a large collection of Wind Turbines – the modern version of the popular Dutch windmill. A wind turbine is a rotating machine that enables the conversion of kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy (AWEA).
Although more popular overseas, Wind Power is a growing industry in the U.S. The American Wind Energy Association reports that the wind industry grew by 45 percent in 2007.
Those with a background in engineering, meteorological and earth sciences, as well as project management will be able to find work in the wind energy industry.
Some universities offer renewable-energy degree programs at the bachelor’s-degree level, but workers with traditional manufacturing experience can give their career a touch of green by taking a one- to two-year wind-technology degree program at a community college.
Wind Energy Careers
Wind Power companies tend to hire engineers, technicians, and individuals with management experience in relevant fields. Wind energy companies often provide training to new employees, as well as education for licensing and certification. This benefits engineers and technicians in other fields in many ways, and provides a smooth transition into the wind power industry.
Wind Farm Manager Jobs
The Wind Farm Manager is the overseer of the wind farm. The individual in this position is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of the farm – from the turbines to customer service, from finance to training – run efficiently. While many companies will accept an individual with the desired education and experience requirements, an individual possessing knowledge of all facets of wind farms – technical, financial, legal – is desired. Most companies prefer an advanced degree, but professionals with a bachelor’s degree with relevant managerial and industry experience is accepted. The average salary for a Wind Farm Manager is $70,000-90,000.
The project manager position is an interesting one that offers some flexibility. An individual in this position would have the opportunity to travel to various wind farms located throughout the U.S. (and some internationally) setting up contracts and implementing operations. Project Managers oversee all project development activities from the time contracts are secured to full operation of project site, working closely with contracting and technical service during implementation. A degree in the earth sciences, management and wind power industry experience is preferred. Average salary for a Project Manager is $50,000-60,000 per year.
Wind Analyst Jobs
An excellent entry-level opportunity for an individual with an educational background in the Earth Sciences and/or physics. Wind analysts research meteorological data pertinent to aid in the maintenance and performance of the wind farm.
The starting salary for a Wind Analyst is $50,000-65,000.
Wind Field Technicians
Wind field technicians are responsible for daily maintenance activities on turbines and other machinery on the wind farm. A bachelor’s degree is preferred, as well as experience as a technician or electrician. The average salary for a Wind Turbine Technician is $36,000 per year.
Wind Farm Engineers
Civil Engineer Jobs
Civil Engineers work on various aspects of the wind farm. They ensure the optimal performance of turbines and the overall performance of the wind farm. Civil engineers also oversee aspects of construction and mechanical development. Wind farm civil engineers have a B.S. in engineering with a focus in construction or related areas such as civil or structural engineering.
Most companies require experience in the wind energy industry.
The average salary for an engineer on a wind farm is $80-90,000.
Electrical Engineer Jobs
Electrical engineers develop and maintain power generating machines and technology on the wind farm. They play an important role in the construction phases of the wind farms and its different segments, providing electrical generation and maintenance. Most companies hire experienced electrical engineers with advanced degrees and engineering certification, as well as industry experience. The average salary for a wind farm electrical engineer is $70,000-80,000.
Top Employers in the Wind Power Field
Wind Farms Located in the U.S.
- Altamont Pass Wind Farm
Located in California, the Altamont Pass Wind Farm is one of the first wind farms developed in the U.S.
- The Big Horn Wind Farm
Klickitat County, Washington
- Biglow Canyon Wind Farm
Located in Sherman County, Oregon.
- Blue Canyon Wind Farm
The largest wind farm in Oklahoma.
- Wind Power Handbook
- Wind Power Monthly
- American Wind Energy Association