Wind Turbine Technician Job Description
Wind turbine technicians specialize in maintaining wind turbines to ensure they’re operating correctly so that they can produce wind-powered electricity. This job involves installing new turbines, performing maintenance checks, and making repairs as needed. Most wind turbine technicians work full time, but they may also be required to work evenings and weekends to handle emergencies. This role often involves traveling to rural areas where wind farms are usually located. This role is well-suited to quick-thinking people who like working with others, have mechanical skills, and enjoy troubleshooting problems.
Wind Turbine Technician Duties and Responsibilities
The type of organization a wind turbine technician works for will determine the exact duties they carry out. Based on job listings we analyzed, a wind turbine technician’s duties typically involve:
Inspect the Integrity of Wind Turbine Towers
Wind turbine technicians inspect components and the physical integrity of the tower. They also check that all parts of the turbine are functioning as they should be. For turbines that operate all year, these checks may occur up to three times annually.
Perform Routine Checks
Maintenance schedules vary depending on the manufacturer and the amount of time the turbine is in operation. The turbines are monitored electronically 24 hours a day from a central office. Part of a wind turbine technician’s role is to perform these checks as they’re required to verify that the turbine is functioning at full capacity.
Test Electrical and Mechanical Components
A key part of a wind turbine technician’s role is to test and troubleshoot electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic components of the turbine tower. This involves identifying any issues and trying to find where the fault is located.
Collect Turbine Data
Part of this role includes collecting turbine data. Most turbine monitoring equipment is situated in the nacelle, which is composed of an outer case, generator, gearbox, and brakes, and can be accessed both on and off-site. Wind turbine technicians will access this information for use in testing reports and for future research.
Repair Malfunctioning Parts
Wind turbine technicians climb turbine towers, sometimes in harsh conditions, to inspect the equipment and replace or fix any components that aren’t working properly. This may also involve servicing underground transmission and control systems.
Wind Turbine Technician Skills and Qualifications
Wind turbine technicians are great communicators and fast thinkers who are comfortable with heights and can follow instructions effectively. Typically, employers require a high school diploma and evidence of competency skills, as well as the following abilities:
- Communication skills – excellent communication skills and the ability to follow orders clearly is vital to this role, as wind turbine technicians often work hundreds of feet off the ground without any immediate support. Following instructions is crucial to doing this job safely and to schedule
- Technical abilities – wind turbine technicians are technically minded and have an aptitude for mechanical systems and processes, as a key aspect of this role involves fixing or fitting the mechanical, hydraulic, braking, and electrical systems of a turbine
- Physical fitness – wind turbine technicians need to be physically fit and have good stamina, as this is a physically demanding job that involves climbing and heavy lifting
- Attention to detail – working in wind turbine facilities or on the turbines themselves can be a dangerous job if safety guidelines aren’t followed. Wind turbine technicians need to consistently meet these standards and have a strong attention to detail to maintain safety compliance
- Teamwork – wind turbine technicians can work effectively with others and think independently. They are professional and courteous at all times and have good interpersonal skills
Wind Turbine Technician Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become a wind turbine technician is a high school diploma. Most people in this role attend technical schools or community colleges where they can complete a certificate in wind energy technology. Much of the training for this role takes place on the job under the guidance of more experienced technicians. In addition to coursework, applicants need a varied skill set that covers first aid and safety, hydraulic maintenance, and mechanical systems. Other training options include taking part in an internship to gain valuable hands-on experience. Any prior experience with self-rescue, workplace electrical safety, and tower climbing is also beneficial.
Wind Turbine Technician Salary and Outlook
The median annual wage for wind turbine technicians is just over $52,000. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $37,000, while the highest paid earn more than $76,000. There is sometimes an opportunity to increase this salary through overtime pay. Many companies offer health benefits as part of their salary package, and some have bonus structures in place.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow by 96 percent through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you start your career as a wind turbine technician:
Innovation in Wind Turbine Design – This book addresses the fundamentals of wind turbine design and the reasons why they’re designed as they are. It’s a great reference guide for understanding the theory and design of wind turbines and how to apply existing engineering knowledge to current technology.
Wind Turbines: Fundamentals, Technologies, Application, Economics – A useful and in-depth guide, this book provides an overview of modern wind turbine technology and the associated technical, economic, and environmental fields. For anyone involves in the research, development, or installation of wind turbines, this is a great reference.
Renewable Green Energy Professional Network – This LinkedIn group is for anyone working in the renewable energy sector. The goal of this network, which currently has over 8,000 members, is to bring together all businesses in the industry for knowledge sharing, networking, and staying up-to-date with current technologies.
Sustainability Education & Economic Development Center – The SEED Center is a great resource for anyone working in the renewable energy field, especially anyone looking to build a career in the wind turbine sector. Its resource page is packed with useful links and documents to help build knowledge and expertise.
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