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Over the past few years, wind power has been a fast growing energy resource. In 2010, electricity generation from wind power increased 28.1 percent over 2009. In 2009, the wind energy sector invested 17 billion dollars in the economy of the United States and employed 85,000 workers. The following profiles describe commonly held positions in the wind power industry including those involved in the manufacturing, operation, and maintenance of wind turbines, as well as those involved in the planning and development of wind turbine use.
Aerospace Engineers - Aerospace Engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of wind turbine blades. They are frequently involved in the selection of sites for installing wind turbines.
Electrical Engineers - Electrical Engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical components for wind turbines. These include electric motors, machinery controls, wiring, generators, and systems for transmitting electricity.
Materials Engineers - Wind turbines consist of hundreds of parts, all of which must withstand the stresses involved in generating electricity from wind power. Materials Engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of metals, ceramics, and plastics used to construct wind turbines.
Quality-control Inspectors - The components that make up wind turbines are large and expensive. Quality-control Inspectors examine components and are responsible for verifying that wind turbine parts fit, move correctly, and do not contain any design flaws.
Land Acquisition Specialists - Land Acquisition Specialists work closely with landowners, local governments, community organizations, lawyers, permitting specialists, engineers, and scientists to purchase or lease land to place wind turbines for wind power projects.
Asset Managers - Asset managers oversee a wind power project's finances, budget, and contractual requirements. They ensure that the profits of a wind power project, such as a wind farm, are maximized.
Atmospheric Scientists - Atmospheric Scientists assess whether wind and other weather conditions are adequate for use as wind power. They also help to decide the best placement of wind turbines at a site to ensure that the greatest amount of energy is obtained from the wind.
Wildlife Biologists - Wind turbines can be a serious threat to animal life, especially local and migrating bird and bat populations. Wildlife Biologists study the wildlife surrounding a potential wind turbine site. They then write reports as to the extent to which a wind power project might interfere with the local ecosystem and how to keep the impact to a minimum.
Crane Operators - Crane Operators help to assemble wind turbines, operating cranes that lift the large components of the turbines, such as the tower segments and the blades.
Assemblers - Assemblers are responsible for putting the many parts of a wind turbine together. Assemblers use hand or power tools to trim, shim, cut, and make adjustments to align, fit, connect, and fasten components.