The Director of the Vantage Career Center sees their wind technician training program as a ticket out of town for their students. Why do we focus on ‘out’ of town’? Because many of the jobs that are espoused by BigWind are THEORETICAL. These students will, in fact, probably have to leave their home town to find employment with this industry. We believe that you can count, on 1-2 hands, the number of full-time employed technicians that work on each NW Ohio industrial wind site. Compare that reality with the actual numbers of Americans employed by the fossil fuel industry…over 2 million, and that does not include those employed by the nuclear industry. In addition, the traditional jobs are high paying. It is true, that there are tremendous maintenance issues in the BigWind industry and the gear box is an achilles heel; however, the article does not address this- maintenance technicians can only do so much for the ailing turbine and then it will be trashed. Although the industry will tell us that turbines should last 20 years, this is only in their dreams. Drive through NW Ohio and you will see this reality as more and more turbines fail to spin. How old are they? Also note the second picture is from the Van Wert area and you can see that these are blades, not nacelles, that need to be replaced. There is a massive graveyard, near the railroad tracks, that proves this reality. Nowhere near the 20 year mark and yet the sites have already changed hands between companies…maintenance IS a huge issue with the ailing machines, but it is not something that will sustain many jobs at all. And remember, those jobs are completely dependent on taxpayer subsidies which support the energy produced by these INefficient machines….
VAN WERT – Vantage has received its Wind Turbine Nacelle Trainer and hopes to begin using it by the summer to train students enrolled in the adult education program to be wind turbine technicians.
“There’s only a few places in the country [where students can train to be technicians],” said Pete Prichard, director of the Ohio Technical Center at Vantage Career Center. “There’s a couple of wind turbine training programs in Texas, one up in Canton, Michigan. Kalamazoo, Michigan, has a program at their community college, but in terms of actually having a Wind Turbine Nacelle Trainer, I understand we are the first university assistant Ohio partner to buy this in Ohio.”
Offering the program at Vantage would give students the opportunity to learn the trade locally so that they would be able to maintain the wind turbines Van Wert has locally, or even give students the opportunity to move elsewhere to work on the turbines.
“Wind turbine technicians is the number one job growth category for the next 10 years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Susan Munroe, president and CEO of the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce….
American Wind Energy Association Deputy Director of Community and Online Engagement Anna Luke spoke about the benefits of the wind turbine technician program.
“A wind turbine technician, we say this all the time, is the fastest growing profession in the country; people are always really surprised by that,” said Luke. “They have an incredibly high placement rate – 90 percent and above. If you complete a course, you get a job.”…
Luke noted that wind energy is the fastest growing energy industry. She stated that currently five percent of energy comes from wind energy and that number is expected to double by 2020…
The program aims to train four students per class for at around 300 hours on just the Nacelle Trainer. Prichard noted that many more hours would be needed to learn other aspects of the job.