What Does a Renewable Energy Technician Do?

Do you like working with your hands? Interested in helping the environment by becoming a renewable energy technician? There are many different types of renewable energy, and each one needs a technician to manage the installation, monitoring, maintenance, and repair of their components and systems. So, what is renewable energy?

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is defined as energy coming from a source that can be regenerated or naturally replenished, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. The main sources of renewable energy include hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.  Renewable energy is either zero emission, low emission, or neutral emission.

Hydropower – Waterpower captures the energy of flowing water to generate electricity. Water creates electricity by harnessing the flow of water to turn generators as the water flows downhill and produces electricity, called hydroelectric energy. Water can also create electricity from the motion of waves, from the breakdown of elements to hydrogen form H2O, and through hydroelectric energy from dams. Hydrogen energy uses the most common element on earth, hydrogen. Tidal energy is produced by the rise and fall of tides. This kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy.

Wind Energy – Electricity is generated when wind pushes the blades of a wind turbine. Three main components make up a wind turbine: the tower, three blades, and a nacelle. The nacelle is made up of the outer casing, generator, gearbox, and hydraulic brakes.

Solar power – Solar panels capture solar radiation from sunlight by either using a photoelectric effect with photovoltaics on rooftops of residential and commercial buildings or by using a lens or mirror to concentrate sunlight to heat up fluid to turn a turbine to generate electricity.

Biomass – This energy is derived from burning wood, waste, landfill gas, and alcohol fuels. Heat generated from burning these biomass resources creates steam. The steam powers a turbine that creates electricity for the electrical grid.

Geothermal – Heat from the Earth’s surface is harnessed to generate electric power for heating and cooking. To generate geothermal electric power, a well is drilled in search of high temperatures that travel naturally through fissures causing steam to rise. The stem spins the turbine to generate electricity.

What Does a Wind Turbine Technician Do?

A wind turbine technician is responsible for maintaining and repairing components and systems of wind turbines. As a wind turbine technician, you will inspect the exterior of the turbine tower, perform maintenance on the turbine components and systems, test electrical and hydraulic systems, identify and replace worn out components, and service transmission systems. You will also work off-site to collect wind turbine data and monitor the functionality of turbine systems..

Are Renewable Energy Technicians in Demand?

At the time of this publication in April 2021, renewable energy is the fastest-growing source of energy in the United States, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Renewables made up more than 17 percent of all U.S. electricity generation in 2018. The increase in usage of renewable energy is due to lower costs, a need for diverse energy sources, and more available resources. The increased demand for renewable energy can also be attributed to the introduction of tax credits and other policy decisions made by the U.S. government.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rates energy tech jobs as some of the fastest growing occupations in the next ten years. Demand for wind turbine technicians is expected to grow 61 percent, with demand for solar installers expected to grow 51 percent.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about the renewable energy industry, it is time to learn more about how to become a renewable energy technician. Whether you become a powerplant operator, wind turbine technician, or solar installation technician, there is always something new to learn, and with the increase in demand for both renewable energy and the technicians that install, monitor and repair these energy systems, becoming a renewable energy technician is a great opportunity for you to enjoy a challenging career and help the environment at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Energy Technician Degree Program

The Energy Technology AAS Degree Program at MIAT is 16 months in length for full time students, assuming no interruption in training, and is offered at both the Michigan and Texas campuses. The training allows students to focus on their chosen field, graduating faster than it takes to earn a traditional 2 or 4-year college degree or complete a 3 to 5-year apprenticeship.

Wind Turbine Technician Program

The Wind Power Technician Program from MIAT College of Technology is 7 months in length for full time students, assuming no interruption in training, and is offered at both the Michigan and Texas campuses. The Wind Power Technician Program provides the hands-on training, practical experience and industry support it takes to pursue a rewarding career in the renewable energy industry.

Does a career in renewable energy interest you? To learn more about Energy Technician training and to explore if MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us if you are interested in becoming a renewable energy technician today.