Typical Day On The Farm...Wind Farm, That is
I was recently speaking with a candidate and was asked what a typical day is like for a wind tech. Being that I have been a manager in the industry for the last 10 years, I could only give my perspective. My answer to him was that it will depend largely on your role, but for now let's talk about the base technician role.
In this role, you will most likely start your day between 6 - 7 AM at the O&M Building (Operations and Maintenance). Depending on your company, you will most likely have a morning meeting that will discuss safety and crew assignments for the day. A lot of wind energy companies include a stretch or warm-up routine at the conclusion of the morning meeting to lower the risk of strains and sprains.
If you are assigned to maintenance you will gather the required supplies, and then go complete your scheduled maintenance. If you are assigned to troubleshooting, you will review SCADA (Wind Turbine Control & Data System), and/or any specialized troubleshooting software for your technology, to develop a plan of attack.
You will gather the required tools, parts and documentation required to troubleshoot your assigned turbines. I am frequently asked, "how many turbines we can expect to visit per day?" That will depend heavily on the health of your site, company safety policy, and the complexity of the required troubleshooting, but it is not uncommon to climb 3 turbines in a day (on a bad day). If your turbines have climb assists or lifts, this number can be much higher. Climbing is an incredibly physical task that takes a lot of energy making the wind technician role that of an industrial athlete.
It is important that you plan for all contingencies when going to the field. Plans can change at the last minute. So, always pack a lunch with snacks, as I have seen two hour planned troubleshoots turn into 12 hour repairs. Also, be aware of the possibility of changing weather depending on your site location. It is not uncommon to see 40+ degree temperature changes in one day. Also, ensure that you have plenty of water at all times of the year as dehydration is a year round threat. At the end of the day, you will come back to the shop, complete your paperwork, store away your tools and waste, and prep for the next day. Rinse and repeat...
All in all, working at a wind farm can be fun and challenging at the same time. You will make life long friends and have plenty of memories along the way.
This is my perspective, what's yours?