Wind Turbine Technicians

What Wind Turbine Technicians Do

Wind turbine service technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6JIAk-U0JM

Work Environment

Wind turbine service technicians generally work outdoors, in confined spaces, and often at great heights. Although the majority of windtechs work full time, they may also be on call to handle emergencies during evenings and weekends.

How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician

Most wind turbine service technicians learn their trade by attending a technical school. They also receive on-the-job training.

Pay

The median annual wage for wind turbine technicians was $52,910 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow 61 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Because wind electricity generation is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decade, additional technicians will be needed to install and maintain new turbines. Job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, install, maintain, and repair wind turbines.

Duties

Wind turbine service technicians typically do the following:

  • Inspect the exterior and physical integrity of wind turbine towers
  • Climb wind turbine towers to inspect or repair wind turbine equipment
  • Perform routine maintenance on wind turbines
  • Test and troubleshoot electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic components and systems
  • Replace worn or malfunctioning components
  • Collect turbine data for testing or research and analysis
  • Service underground transmission systems, wind field substations, or fiber optic sensing and control systems

Wind turbines are large mechanical devices that convert wind energy into electricity. The turbine is made up of three major components: a tower, three blades, and a nacelle, which is composed of an outer case, generator, gearbox, and brakes. Wind turbine service technicians install and repair the components of these structures.

Although some windtechs are involved in building new wind turbines, most of their work is in maintaining them, particularly the nacelles, which contain the equipment that generates electricity.

Maintenance schedules are largely determined by a turbine’s hours in operation, but can also vary by manufacturer. Turbines are monitored electronically from a central office, 24 hours a day. When a problem is detected, windtechs travel to the worksite and make the repairs. Typical maintenance includes inspecting components and lubricating parts. For turbines that operate year round, routine maintenance may occur one to three times a year.

Windtechs use safety harnesses and a variety of hand and power tools to do their work. They also use computers to diagnose electrical malfunctions. Most turbine monitoring equipment is located in the nacelle, which can be accessed both onsite and off.

Wind turbine technicians held about 7,000 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of wind turbine technicians were as follows:

Electric power generation 28%
Repair and maintenance 25
Utility system construction 17
Self-employed workers 14
Professional, scientific, and technical services 6

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, generally work outdoors, often at great heights and with a partner. For example, when repairing blades, windtechs rappel—or descend by sliding down a rope—from the nacelle to the section of the blade that needs servicing. To reach the mechanical equipment, workers must climb ladders—sometimes more than 260 feet tall—while wearing a fall protection harness and carrying tools. When maintaining mechanical systems, windtechs work in the confined space of the nacelle.

For major service or repairs, additional windtechs and other specialists, such as electricians, may be needed to complete the job quickly.

Work Schedules

Although the majority of windtechs work full time, they may also be on call to handle emergencies during evenings and weekends.

When a wind turbine is not functioning, technicians must find the problem and make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

Windtechs often travel to rural areas, where many wind farms are located.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of wind turbine technicians.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment.

See How to Become One $59,080

Electricians

Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,180

Elevator installers and repairers

Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers install, maintain, and fix elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.

High school diploma or equivalent $84,990

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems.

Postsecondary nondegree award $48,730

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights install, maintain, and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery.

High school diploma or equivalent $52,860

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $55,160

For more information about educational opportunities and career paths, visit

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

O*NET

Wind Turbine Service Technicians


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Wind Turbine Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/wind-turbine-technicians.htm (visited ).