The wind industry employs professional and skilled workers in a number of different capacities. New wind projects require people with meteorological, business, and engineering experience to plan and build wind energy projects. Meteorologists help engineers to identify appropriate sites with a suitable wind conditions. After that engineers design the wind farm, working with the utility companies and local communities. Construction workers are needed to build the wind farm. After construction phase mechanical and electrical engineers are required to operate and maintain the wind turbines.
There are a growing number of specialist employment areas within the Wind Energy sector. At the same time as many vacancies require an engineering background, many others offer good opportunities for individuals who may lack direct experience within the wind power sector, but who have enthusiasm and useful skills which are transferable.
Approximately 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today in US and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, transportation and logistical services, and more. (AWEA, 2010)
To ensure a skilled workforce across the wind energy industry in US, 205 educational programs now offer a certificate, degree, or coursework related to wind energy. Of these 205 programs, the largest segments are university and college programs (45%) and community colleges or technical school programs (43%). (AWEA, 2010)
Wind power generates jobs ranging from manufacturing to project management. The European wind energy sector employs 192,000 people. (EWEA, 2010)
Between 2002 and 2007, direct employment in the sector increased by 125% – an average of 33 new jobs every day, seven days a week in Europe. (EWEA, 2010)
There should be 446,000 jobs in wind in Europe by year 2020, and 479,000 by year 2030. According to the European Commission the green energy sector could create 2.8 million new jobs and add 1.1% to GDP growth if the EU’s 2020 renewables target is met. (EWEA, 2010)
New jobs in wind industry in Europe in future will be mainly related to offshore wind power. By current estimations number of onshore wind energy jobs should peak in year 2020 with 290,000 jobs and then decline to 185,000 jobs in year 2030, but number of offshore wind power jobs will increase from 34,000 in year 2010 to 156,000 jobs in 2020 and after that to 293,000 in year 2030. (EWEA, 2010)
In 2009, German manufacturers and suppliers contributed to nearly 30 per cent of the total worldwide turnover of 22.1 billion euro. The export quota was at about 80 per cent in 2009. Together with installation, operation and maintenance services, the wind industry achieved a turnover of more than 8 billion euro. The sector employs close to 100,000 people.
Starting salaries for entry level Wind Technicians in US typically range between $55,000 and $65,000 for the first year. Once experience is gained most can expect promotions or bonuses that can total close to $80,000. It is not uncommon for those with significant field experience to make up to $95,000 per year as a Senior Technician or $110,000 per year as an Operations and Maintenance Manager.
Wind farm modeling software such as WindPRO and WindFarmer simulate wind farm behavior and are useful tools for those wanting to work in the wind power industry. Modeling software may be used to learn how to design and plan wind farms. In addition to other useful information, calculations for energy production may be retrieved from entering wind turbine specifications into such software.
For example how many jobs opens with new wind power project we can look at the 42-turbine Black Law Wind Farm with a total capacity of 97 MW: It employs seven permanent staff on site and has created 200 jobs during construction.
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