For answers, NPR interviewed Daniel Lutat, Director of Sustainable Resources and Technologies at Iowa Lakes Community College, home to one of the nation’s leading wind tech programs.
Here are a few highlights from the conversation:
- “Really, job placement takes care of itself. The dilemma that graduates have from these programs is that they’ve got to choose which company to take a job with. They’re being fought over because the demand for properly trained technicians is very high.
- “So when it comes to wind energy, I think — especially where Iowa is concerned, you’ve seen a lot of Democrat and Republican cooperation on this — it’s simply because it’s a good thing. We can generate 10 times more electricity from wind alone than the continent’s gonna use for the foreseeable future. So that’s really what this kind of bridge technology does for us.”
- “A wind technician is a person who basically is kind of a jack of all trades — you’re maintaining everything from power generation systems to mechanical systems, instrumentation, communication systems… really each turbine can be viewed like an airplane on a stick, I guess. So in everything from the construction phase all the way through the operations and maintenance and the post-warranty phase, these technicians really are bumper-to-bumper maintenance guys.”
For a closer look at life as a wind turbine technician, check out these videos: