Not all wind energy technology students who graduate from Ecotech Institute plan on climbing towers for a living. Luckily, there are plenty of career opportunities in wind energy for Ecotech Institute grads that involve two feet on the ground instead of a few hundred feet in the air.
In an article for Wind Systems magazine, wind energy technology instructor Walter Christmas discusses the similarities and differences of two wind energy career paths where climbing isn't involved: wind turbine and component manufacturing and remanufacturing.
Wind Turbine Manufacturing and Remanufacturing
From a technician's perspective, both manufacturing and remanufacturing share a few important similarities:
- Both heavily involve an assembly process.
- Both tend to be located in or near cities as opposed to wind farm jobs outside populated areas.
- Hefty overhead cranes offer safety and versatility in material handling that a turbine's gantry crane cannot offer.
What's the Difference Between Wind Turbine Manufacturing and Remanufacturing?
While assembly safety and job location is standard across the board, Walter also demonstrates a number of differences between the two careers:
Manufacturing: Bolting new components together requires limited knowledge of how a wind turbine functions.
Remanufacturing: Diagnosing a failure mode in a specific component requires a deep knowledge of how a turbine functions.
Manufacturing: Exposes technicians to the opportunity to learn about a variety of components.
Remanufacturing: Specifically focuses on a single component that may be prone to failure.
Manufacturing: Technicians spend their day performing one small task on an assembly line and become experts in that aspect
Remanufacturing: Technicians are likely responsible for solving problems that look different with every component that passes through their station.