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A day in the life – The duties of a modern wind turbine service technician

There are a diverse range of career paths in wind energy. As a result, there is a wide variety of responsibilities to ensure reliable wind farm operation. The first part of this series looks at the duties of a wind turbine service technician.

Service technicians play an integral role in ensuring wind turbine reliability, performing maintenance, and resolving any issues as they occur. Simply put, technicians need to ensure that turbines are in an operational and safe condition. However, this involves a significant number of tasks that require specialist expertise. But what exactly are their duties and how does one begin this career path?

Thorough training is the starting point

The majority of technicians attend a technical school to obtain an associate degree that normally takes two years to complete. To become a fully qualified service technician, applicants must complete a traineeship – which requires 12 months of on-the-job training. Another option is doing an apprenticeship where staff must complete a minimum of 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours paid work per year in the program.

What is the ideal skill set for the job?

Technicians must have comprehensive knowledge of wind turbine systems and components. This requires mechanical skills, analytical expertise, and competence with documentation. Repairing and maintaining all mechanical, hydraulic, braking, and electrical systems in a turbine are all demanding tasks. Additionally, staff must be able to troubleshoot to resolve a problem and maintain the relevant paperwork alongside this.

What does a technician do on a daily basis?

Technicians are responsible for ensuring turbines are safe. This includes the areas surrounding the machines, too. Duties involve cleaning and general maintenance with a heavy focus on safety. Staying up to date with safety regulations and standards is an important part of the role. Additionally, wind energy is rapidly advancing and this requires continuous learning and education from professionals to ensure they are well-versed in their duties. 

Having the highest quality surveillance technology for your assets is all well and good. However, the performance of a turbine is most reliant on the technician looking after it.

Carsten Lind Andersen, CEO and Owner at Danish Wind Power Academy

The responsibilities of service technicians can also be varied and unpredictable. Normally, an organization would follow a structured maintenance plan. However, if an unexpected breakdown occurs, staff must resolve the issue as soon as possible to facilitate service continuity and safety at a wind farm. This requires employees to be able to think quickly and be decisive.  

The job market for wind turbine service technicians is expected to grow by 96% between the years 2016 and 2026 in the USA.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 

What are the prospects and what does the future hold?

The demand for qualified service technicians is growing year on year as the world becomes more reliant on renewable energy. There are now more job opportunities and chances for advancement than ever before. After accumulating experience, it is possible for staff to go on to become inspectors, managers, or turbine electricians, for example. Wind turbine technician was also listed as one of the fastest growing jobs in America.  

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