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Watch Those Battles the Wind Kicks Up

Wind energy farms are farms, right? In New Jersey, the battle is on whether land preserved as farmland can be used for widespread construction of wind turbines. The state has spent more than $1 billion over the years to preserve its land for strictly agricultural purposes.

Now, the state Legislature is moving two bills through its chambers that would allow the wind turbines on the land, despite the preservation. Opponents fear the bills would defeat all the state has worked to preserve, while supporters say adding turbines could help cash-strapped farmers earn extra money. At the same time, allowing turbines would give the green light to energy systems.

If you are looking for a career in wind energy, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on battles being waged across the land. If the bills pass, those New Jersey farmers are going to be looking for help running a wind farm.

A wind farm manager must know all operations of the wind farm, from the turbines to customer service, employee hiring, training and scheduling to finance and adhering to contractual obligations. According to the Wind Energy TechCareers, employers prefer wind farm managers to hold an advanced degree, but often will consider those with a bachelor’s degree with relevant managerial and industry experience. The average salary for a wind farm manager is $70,000-$90,000.

Other positions in the wind energy field include wind field technicians, project managers and wind analyst. The wind energy field is new and rapidly developing.

All this fuss about whether or not one can put wind turbines on one’s farm brings to mind other times in our history. Some towns and states embraced the coming of the Iron Horse, while others saw the railroads as menacing trails through precious land. One town would campaign to get the railroad to come through its borders while another would fight against the rail lines. When it was all said and done, though, the railroad played a major role in the development of the United States. Those lines are still active today, though they now play a different role.

Then, there’s talk of how those turbines are “marring the landscape.” If you’ve never seen a wind farm, with the rows and rows of blades whirring, reminding one of a life-size Spirograph, then it’s hard to describe the beauty. Besides, there was a time to be sure, when many argued about those ugly electric poles going up across the countryside. These days, many think very little, if any, about the rows of poles that bring lights to a community.

Wind energy is the new railroad, the new power, and the quicker we all embrace it, the better we will be.

— Sheila


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