The Way the Wind Blows…

…is stirring up the job market

A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor projects wind turbine service technicians as the highest percentage increase occupation on the job market over the next ten years.

The DOL report shows projections for the fastest-growing occupations for 2014-2024, based on the statistics from the last ten years and with emphasis on jobs with the highest percentage increase since the beginning of 2014. The report lists a top 5, in four different varieties. In the categories of “fastest growing overall” and “fastest growing occupations, some postsecondary education required”, wind turbine service technicians appear in the top 5 of both.

What is more significant, however, is the fact that all the other four are healthcare related jobs. Focus on the first chart in the top left corner, entitled “Fastest Growing, Overall”. Within this set of projections, not only is turbine technician the only job on the list from ANY manufacturing sector; it is the only non-healthcare-related job to appear on a list dominated by that category. And it possesses the highest percentage increase by a landslide, with over 100%, while others hover around the 38-42% range.


Click on the chart to zoom in.

In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics attributes the demand for these workers to the growth of sustainable energy initiatives: “Because wind electricity generation is expected to grow over the coming decade, additional technicians will be needed to install and maintain new turbines.”

If proven true, many manufacturers and service operations could very well benefit from broadening their horizons, given that similar skills are being utilized in the wind turbine field(s).

An example of a company who sees the writing on the wall is WEG, the Brazilian motor and parts maker. WEG just this week inked a deal with Alianca to supply turbines for a new windpark project in northeast Brazil, to be commissioned in 2017. It is a 98.7 MW project, and fueled ambitions for the company, who told Windpower Monthly it now has 651MW on its order books — for models in the 2MW-2.3MW range — and is aspiring to corner 20% of the Brazilian wind market.

WEG, founded in 1961 and long-since one of Brazil’s top power equipment makers, became a wind turbine supplier in August 2013 through a technology transfer agreement with US manufacturer Northern Power Systems.

Why does everyone keep talking about wind turbines? Because, as the DOL stats evidence, they are becoming a lot more important in the economy. To some, renewable energy may sound like an annoying new kid in school with flashy clothes and outspoken ideas, but there is room for confluence with those industries that may feel threatened.


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