Wednesday, January 21, 2009

'One million jobs in wind power' by 2010

(Unity students and Steve Cole of CEI work on our NRG Sytems 60 meter wind assessment tower.)

That was The Guardian's headline today. I've been studying up on these jobs: where they are, what qualifications, and so on.

The average American wind power employee seems to be a wind turbine technician, lives in Illinois or Iowa and travels quite a bit. Her salary is bigger than mine, and she is a recycled engineer or technician from some other industry. Degree or associate degree programs to train wind power folks are few and far between but increasing, and some spanking new facilities are being built to train students.

Frankly, I'd like to build one myself, or at least a combined physics/sustainability lab. But while we wait for Unity College planning gears to grind away, we do have reasonably effective facilities for some of this work right now, in particular wind assessment and planning.

Wind assessment is a fairly technical business, requiring math and computer skills a cut above technician-level training. So far the best wind assessment programs are graduate-level, which is reasonable because wind assessment is one kind of basic science research. We're just finishing our first wind assessment report for a client here at Unity College, involving students a good deal in the tower work, but not so far the data collection and analysis, which is something I want to correct quickly, and so I've put in to teach a seminar this fall in the topic to add the more brianiac component.

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