FAQ's

What is community wind?

Community wind projects are locally owned or initiated by farmers, investors, businesses, schools, utilities, or other public or private entities and they optimize local benefits. The key feature is that local community members have a significant, direct financial stake in the project beyond land lease payments and tax revenue. Projects may be used for on-site power or to generate wholesale power for sale, usually on a scale greater than 100 kW.

If you are interested in starting a community wind project, we encourage you to use our Community Wind Toolbox to help guide you along the process.

What is commercial (large) scale wind?

 

Large scale wind (also often called 'utility scale') refers to wind energy projects greater than 1 megawatt (MW). Typically, the electricity is sold rather than used on-site. This category can include large arrays of 100 or more turbines owned by large corporations or a single locally-owned wind turbine greater than 1 MW in size. Over time turbines have gotten larger and larger. Not so many years ago the largest turbines were 600kW in size, and these were then the large scale models. Many wind farms still exist with turbines in the 250 kW to 950 kW size range. These are commercial scale operations, although by current (2013) standards, the turbines are now considered mid-sized. The term 'mid-size' is currently used for turbines above 100kW up to 1MW.

Tips for the job hunter

  1. Know What's Up. Learn about what is happening in the wind energy sector today. Important areas to cover include the basics of wind energy, politics, and current issues and trends. Windustry provides overview pages of these areas as well as a News and Events section. So click around and see what you can learn.
  2. Learn the Lingo. Knowing key terms about wind energy and your specific area of interest will get you far. So study up and learn the vocabulary. Windustry's Glossary is a good place to start.
  3. Get Experience. Many jobs within the wind energy sector require specific skills. So do your research and see if you need experience or further schooling to get your dream job. Check out Windustry's Work in Wind pages to learn more about whether schooling may be required and what schools have degree programs.
  4. Surf the Web. Trying different key phrases in search engines will give you an idea of where to begin and what's out there. Phrases could include "wind energy jobs," "wind energy training" "wind energy employment", etc.
  5. Relax. Be confident with your skills and knowledge of the field and be open to learning. The field is always changing.

Helpful Resources

Follow the links for additional information about working in the wind industry.

I want to Work in Wind. What resources are there? Do I need to go back to school? Network?

The wind energy sector provided 85,000 direct jobs in 2008, and the industry is expected to support up to 1/2 million direct and related jobs by 2030. Our resources offer guidance on the types of jobs available, the skills and training needed, and how to find them.

A significant amount of jobs in wind require specialization and you may want to need to classes. But do a little research on firms expanding to wind that could use your experience. For example, a financing firm may have created a wind energy branch. Or a cell tower company may have started to specialize in wind turbine towers.

Intern and Interview

Call a company that does work that you are interested in and ask if they take interns, or if they could use some help as volunteer. If they say no, consider asking them about the background of their current employees. Some companies will be more open to this than others, but it doesn’t hurt to respectfully try. If it seems that they are short and too busy to talk, don’t push it. Thank them and move on.

A common question is how to find a job in the wind energy industry through networking. Networking is probably one of the best ways to learn more about the industry and its players and a great way to get involved in the wind energy sector. 

Attend seminars, conferences and workshops 

This is by far the best way to hear about current events in the field, network and meet other professionals in teh wind industry. You will also be able to see the scope of what companies are doing today. Presentations at seminar sessions are usually given by top experts, so take note of their names and backgrounds.

Exhibit Hall - Walking through the exhibit hall is a great way to get a feel for who the primary players are in the field and the type of work they are involved in. Usually browsing the exhibit floor is no or low cost, and is a perfect time to talk with companies, which is the reason they are there. Don't be shy if you have a resume you would like to share with them, or exchange business cards. The list of exhibitors and sponsors is usually made available (in print or on the website), which can be a great source of names and/or contact information.

Women of Wind Energy - This is a group of individuals who support and encourage the participation and advancement of professional women in the wind energy industry. Learn about their meetings or join the mentoring program to help your knowledge of the field grow.

 

Articles

Helpful Links

Follow the links for additional information about working in the wind industry.

Where can I find a school or training program specific to renewable energy?

If you are serious about joining the wind energy community, attending specialized schooling will help you fine tune your skills and hopefully lead you to a job. Here are post-secondary programs for college degrees and training certificates that focus on wind energy systems or that focus on renewable energy systems including wind.

Programs include:

Degree Programs

Certificate and Other Training Programs

 

Helpful Resources

Follow the links for additional information about working in the wind industry.

What types of training or degrees do I need to work in wind?

While many of the jobs listed do not require specific “wind energy” degrees,” there are some that call for special training. Some people go to college for traditional degrees in the following, and then specialize in wind on their own accord:

  • Mechanical or electrical engineering
  • Public Policy
  • Business - Finance
  • Computer science
  • Aerodynamics
  • Atmospheric science

Other wind specific training can include:

  • Installation and Maintenance (Small and Large)
  • Resource Assessment and Forecasting
  • Renewable Energy Credit Trading
  • Turbine Design

What types of jobs exist in wind energy today?

Similar to any other industry, there are many different occupations necessary to keep the industry thriving. The major sectors include:

Manufacturing Sector

  • Turbine Production
  • Tower Production
  • Gearbox and Component Parts

Service Sector

  • Site Prospecting
  • Wind Farm Development
  • Consultation
  • Construction (on-site)
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Legal Assistance
  • Financing
  • Turbine Technician (Operation and Maintenance)
  • Wind Energy Forecasting and Resource Assessment

Sales and Marketing Sector

  • Turbine Sales (small and large scale)
  • Marketing

Public and Non-Profit Sector 

  • Public/Community Relations
  • Utility Company Programs
  • Non-profit Advocacy and Education
  • Policy Research and Lobbying
  • Governmental Programs

As you can see, there are as many job opportunities in wind as there are in any other mature industry. Next, you need to assess your strengths, interests, and skills in order to do some background research and get your foot in the door.

Helpful Resources

Follow the links for additional information about working in the wind industry.

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