March 05, 2014 · By Keri Burnett · No Comments
Alden Zeitz writes as a guest blogger for Ecotext in this post. He is a member of Ecotech Institute’s national board of advisors. He is the Manager of Renewable Energy Services for Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and offers of wealth of experience in the wind energy sector.
Day-to-day operation of a wind generation site can be a daunting experience, even for the most experienced professional. At any given time a number of tasks can simultaneously occur on site. Successfully managing this effort can be a challenge and is critical to returning those turbines back to service as soon as possible, safely and efficiently.
Clean Energy · Safety · Science · Wind Energy
November 20, 2013 · By Auston VanSlyke · No Comments
Wake up before the sun, grab something to eat and hit the road. You cannot climb wind turbines in high winds and the wind is typically high in the late afternoon, so you need to get an early start.
Wind farms are located far from cities and residents so the drive to work is typically an hour. You will most likely be taking some dirt roads for this commute, so you will need a vehicle that can make it in all types of weather. Every morning at the headquarters. you will have a meeting with the whole crew, typically around 7am. You will be grouped into teams as necessary, usually at least three-person teams. Your team will be assigned a specific job task for that day. Job tasks range from scheduled maintenance to repairing unexpected failures, typically working on one turbine per day. Each team member then begins to get ready.
You may need to do some research on the job task, get consumables or parts from the warehouse, get special tools from the tool room, or even get on a computer to check on the condition of the wind turbine you will be working on. The wind turbine is most likely going to be far from any help, so you must plan to bring absolutely everything you will need that day. All of the steps you take require documentation; checking out tools, timecards, recording conditions of the wind turbine.
Your team will then drive to the turbine in a work truck. This can be another hour away because wind turbines are spread out and access roads have slow speed limits. Once you have reached the wind turbine it needs to be shut off and then you can load all of your tools and supplies onto the electric winch to be lifted into the top of the tower. Then everyone has to climb a 300-foot ladder.
The real work begins once everyone and all the supplies have been moved into the Nacelle. You will be working by yourself or with a partner for specific tasks for the rest of the day. Anytime you need a break, you can take it, but climbing down takes too long and is typically not allowed. Going to the bathroom is not easy; typically you use a grocery bag or an empty water bottle. You will most likely eat lunch sitting on a piece of equipment in the Nacelle or up on the roof. At the end of the day you clean everything on the way down, load up the truck and turn your wind turbine back on. Once back at the headquarters you check everything in and finish all your documentation and check to see if your wind turbine is up and running.
Clean Energy · Green Jobs · Wind Energy
November 12, 2013 · By Kyle Crider · No Comments
How many people does it take to change the world?
The answer, of course, is just one. But almost 500 are learning how to change the world for the better at Ecotech Institute. One-hundred and thirteen of them were just added at our Fall Term start on October 2, 2013. Of these:
34 were veterans or relatives of veterans
12 were women
51 were referrals from other Ecotech students
60 had attended college before
Business Sustainability · Clean Energy · Electrical Engineering Technology · Energy Efficiency · Facility Management · Green Jobs · Higher Education · Renewable Energy · Solar Energy · Sustainability · Wind Energy
September 19, 2013 · By Kyle Crider · No Comments
We’re all familiar with having to do more with less in these troubled economic times. But less can equal more – especially when “less” means wasting less energy and “more” means new jobs here in America. And just when you thought bipartisanship was dead, there is a new bipartisan bill in Congress that promises to do more with less.
Clean Energy · Energy Efficiency · Green Jobs · Smart Grid · Sustainability
September 11, 2013 · By Auston VanSlyke · No Comments
In this article on grist.org, Bill White delves into how five people you have probably never heard of will have an outsized impact on the future of renewable energy. Learn more about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision and its vital role in the future of renewable energy.
Read More: http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-five-most-important-people-for-renewables/
Clean Energy · Economics · Renewable Energy · Smart Grid · Wind Energy