Wind technicians, or wind turbine technicians, are crucial to ensuring that wind energy can be converted into electricity and then distributed by electrical grids. Wind techs are both technically savvy and physically fit to perform well in this role.
Wind turbines typically have three major parts - the tower with three blades, a nacelle (an outer casing with a generator and gearbox), and brakes to slow it down. Wind turbine technicians usually install and repair the components of these turbine parts, using several tools as well as computers to test for malfunctions and diagnose issues.
Most of the equipment related to turbine monitoring is in the nacelle, which can be accessed both onsite or remotely. For example, on the nacelle, they might have to replace the instruments that measure wind speed and direction or work with large cranes for component repair or replacement.
In this career, wind energy technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance, and operation of wind turbines both onshore and offshore. They perform routine maintenance to keep the turbines running. The technicians also respond when the wind turbines are not working properly and are charged with repairing them. They could be responsible for managing a single turbine or hundreds of them on a wind farm. In addition, wind techs are often responsible for ordering spare turbine parts, keeping track of the inventory, or overseeing turbine operations.
If wind turbines are not working, that means less energy for the grid. As such, it is common for wind energy technicians to be on call and work during evenings and weekends to keep them generating energy. Next to being able to work in a variety of conditions outdoors, wind technicians should not be afraid of heights and comfortable with working in confined spaces.
Given the increasing rise in the use of sustainable energies, wind turbine techs have a promising job outlook in the renewable energy sector for years and decades to come.
Common wind technician responsibilities
- Conducting inspections and repairing faults on all turbine systems, including mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic components;
- Performing routine maintenance to prevent turbine problems;
- Maintaining inventory and ordering components as needed;
- Replacing old or malfunctioning pieces of turbine;
- Collecting data from the turbine for testing and analysis;
- Scaling wind turbine towers with a safety harness to carry out inspection and repair work;
- Updating the manager on maintenance, repair, and work progress;
- Traveling to wind turbine sites to fix a turbine;
- Inspecting or supervising junior wind technicians and other team members;
- Following strict safety protocols to ensure one’s safety in extreme working conditions;
- Assuring the safety of team members.
Qualifications for wind turbine technicians
Wind technicians should have at least a technical or trade certification from a vocational institute. A Bachelor’s degree in a technical field such as Engineering, Computer Science, Renewable Energy is advantageous.
Additional supporting skills and experience include:
- 1-2 years of experience;
- Strong problem-solving skills to diagnose and overcome challenges;
- Good understanding of structural, mechanical, and electronic components, hydraulic systems, and other technical hardware and software;
- Physically fit and able to lift heavy equipment, bend, and climb;
- Strong verbal and written communication skills to be able to work easily with customers, engineers, technicians, and other team members;
- Some work experience gained through an apprenticeship or in a similar role is an advantage.