Wind is one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the United States. 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. As the wind energy industry continues to grow, it will provide many opportunities for workers in search of new careers. These careers extend beyond the wind farm: it also takes the efforts of workers in factories and offices to build and operate a turbine.1
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics divides occupations in wind power into three phases: manufacturing, project development, and operation and maintenance. However, occupations are not always limited to one phase. Wind turbine service technicians, for example, work in all three phases, not just operation and maintenance.1 These jobs were once confined to a few states that were early promoters of renewable energy, but wind farms—a group of wind turbines connected to a central utility—now operate in 34 states across the country.
Most wind farms are owned by a major utility company that pays a wind energy company to install and maintain turbines. For this reason, in many wind energy jobs, employees travel extensively. Most of these workers are technicians with a specialty, such as turbine blade repair or electrical work.