Wind Energy Careers on the Rise
Every time you turn on a light, open your fridge, charge your cell phone or play a video game, you don’t think of where the electricity that powers it comes from. Electricity is like oxygen: life sustaining, all around and at the same time, invisible.
Wind energy is growing rapidly as a form of generating power. While it provides a clean alternative to fossil fuel generated electricity, it is also cheaper. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind energy costs have dropped over the past few years as wind turbine technology has matured, with taller towers, and with improved wind turbine efficiency. Being one of the most cost-efficient forms of generation, rates can be locked in for decades due to the fuel being free.
In 2009, southeastern United States did not have a large wind power capacity, but the rest of the country had a capacity of 20-9,500 megawatts per state. 35,000 megawatts can power approximately 9.5 million homes! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind-generating capacity in the United States grew 39 percent per year from 2004 to 2009, and is expected to grow more rapidly as demand for renewable energy increases.
Hundreds of companies are dedicated to the generation of wind energy. From 2005-2008, the United States led the world in wind power generation. More than 16,000 companies now employ more than 1 million people in manufacturing equipment and other products that support wind energy generation, with more than 85,000 employed in the United States.
Occupations in wind power are separated into three phases: manufacturing, project development and operation and maintenance. Salaries can range from $29,000 for construction to $95,000 for aerospace engineers.
For more information on a career in wind energy, check out TechCareers: Wind Energy. With detailed descriptions of wind energy careers and educational requirements to profiles of wind energy technicians, the book gives a comprehensive view of the industry, including a list of wind energy technician recruiters and wind energy programs across the nation.