Clean energy jobs may have declined during COVID, but the future of the workforce is still looking bright. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, renewable energy was the only power source that stayed in high demand. Construction activity never completely ceased, resulting in the highest number of renewable energy installations to date in 2020.
North Dakota Retrains its Energy Workforce
Losing your job can be a terrible experience, especially if you need to acquire new skills to land the next job. As the country undergoes its transition to a true clean energy economy, the fossil fuel industry is getting hit hard as plant shutdowns displace workers. Many of these workers have decades of experience in energy extraction from below the ground. In North Dakota, these workers are getting the chance to become wind turbine technicians and solar installers to extract energy above ground!
According to a recent article, NESET Consulting Service has worked with Lake Region State College to set up an accelerated wind academy program. The program lasts for 14 weeks and students come out fully qualified to work on wind turbines.
After recently assessing how highly skilled oil field employees could stay in the state, NESET found an answer: the wind industry! The company recently received a grant from a North Dakota Department of Commerce initiative to start the North Dakota Smart Restart Technical Skills Training Grant to support accelerated retraining for workforces.
So, what do these future wind technicians learn, exactly? They learn the ins and outs of a functioning wind farm. Wind turbines turn the wind's kinetic energy into electricity. As the blades spin, they move an internal rotor shaft. That component moves a series of gears to produce carbon-free electricity. However, power regulator problems and material faults can cause issues. If a turbine malfunctions, the technicians need to know what to look for and what to fix to keep the turbine operating properly.
Some renewable energy companies specifically target people from the oil and gas sectors to find skilled workers looking for new opportunities. CGA member Key Capture Energy, which specializes in battery development, is one of them! CEO Jeff Bishop posted a series of content on LinkedIn telling oil and gas workers that renewable energy jobs in Texas were theirs for the taking. As a result, he received about 200 applications within two months of posting.
Clean Energy Empowers Veterans
Careers in clean energy give folks a way to stay involved in power generation and find personal growth and expanded opportunities at the same time. Our country's veterans are leading the way in taking advantage of this career opportunity.
Men and women looking to transition from active duty into civilian life benefit greatly from the increased investment and deployment of solar, wind, and energy storage across America. These jobs in clean energy are very accessible, with opportunities in fields such as construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance.
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According to the American Clean Power Association (ACP), there are an estimated 33,959 veterans working in wind, solar, storage or transmission across the U.S. These men and women that have honorably served in our military find jobs in clean power at a rate 34 percent higher than the average U.S. industry. In the wind industry, veterans?find jobs at a rate 67 percent higher than the average U.S. industry.
The door is always open in the clean energy sector for workers. With a great income, benefits and the chance to train among people of any background in a thriving industry, the clean energy job market creates a brighter – and cleaner – future for the planet and its inhabitants.