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Program Helps Satisfy Nebraska’s Growing Wind Energy Workforce Demand

By Ben Bohall, Producer/Reporter, NET News 

In 1998, there were only four wind turbines in the entire state. Now, there are more than 700. But as Nebraska’s wind farms continue to expand, finding trained people to work them has been a challenge. A unique education program is trying to change that . . . According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for wind turbine service technicians is expected to more than double by the year 2024. Last year, turbine service techs took home $53,000 a year, on average. Construction is underway on 81 wind farm projects in 25 states, several of which are in Nebraska. The biggest is the Grande Prairie, near O’Neill, which is expected to have 200 new turbines. Read more.

Photo: Students of Northeast Community College’s wind energy technician program train on the campus’ fully functioning 100-kilowatt turbine. Courtesy photo.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NBC Nebraska: Wind turbine on campus will power, educate college
Central Community College-Hastings will have a wind turbine in operation by the end of December. “We consume a lot of energy on the campus, electrical energy,” said [CCC President Bill Hitesman]. “That will produce enough energy to run the campus at its peak performance.”
The college will be expanding course offerings for students in the renewable fuels field.