Guest post by Scott Wood, power technDanotek Motion Technologies
There's been a lot of discussion about jobs in energy lately. I'd like to chip in my two cents, because I have one of those jobs myself.
Right now I work for Danotek Motion Technologies, a company that's based in the Detroit suburbs and that makes a line of industrial equipment used in the wind power business–specifically, advanced permanent magnet generators and full-power converters that are used in both land-based and offshore wind turbines.
I've been with Danotek for about a year and a half, since finishing a power technician training course at the Michigan Institute for Aviation and Technology (MIAT) in Canton, Michigan.
Before deciding to try finding a job in the wind energy industry, I was a construction worker for 18 years. Michigan’s economy has been having a hard time for many years, and so construction work hasn't been very dependable. Beginning in 2009, I found myself out of work for a year, and I started thinking it was time to look for something else to do. I was on a hunting trip in northern Michigan and happened to drive by a wind farm. I decided to stop and see what I could find out about it, and as someone who is concerned about conservation, I thought it made a lot of sense. That led me to go to MIAT for the training I would need to get a job in the wind power industry.
I still think using more wind power is a good idea. It's clean, it's affordable, and it's renewable, so it will never run out. Under the Bush Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said wind could supply 20 percent of America's electricity needs by the year 2030. That was in 2008, and in the four years since then, the U.S. wind industry has stayed on track toward that ambitious target. By the end of this year, it will be almost one-quarter of the way there. At the same time, some other positive things have happened: the cost of electricity from wind farms is coming down, and since 2005, the amount of domestic content that is contained in wind turbines installed across the U.S. has nearly tripled.
Working in the wind industry has been good for me, too. I have a challenging job I enjoy that provides a steady paycheck, and that means a lot to me. I assemble generators and wiring systems, and help out with any other jobs that need a power technician. Danotek is a small but growing business (about 50 employees), so there’s a variety of work each day.
Danotek has done a lot to expand its business, by selling the products it makes to wind turbine manufacturers in both North America and Europe. We don't need fewer companies like it, we need more–putting Americans back to work and manufacturing quality products to serve the growing clean energy industry around the world. There are many, many workers in Michigan and other manufacturing states today who need a decent job and could be trained to work in this industry. I know. I used to be one.