With wind capacity in the US set to increase by more than 100GW by the end of the decade, what steps can the industry take to find the skilled technicians it needs?
According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the US’s total wind capacity will have reached 224.07GW by 2030.
That means the nation’s total wind capacity will have increased by more than 100GW since 2020, while total capacity stood at 122.46GW.
But which individual US states will be the key drivers of this growth?
The Top Five
By 2030, Texas will be the US state with the largest amount of wind capacity, according to the DOE projections. The Lone Star State is expected to have 43.64GW of wind capacity by the end of the decade, of which 41.03GW will be land-based. This represents an overall increase of around a third of Texas’s current capacity. At the end of 2020, the state had 33.13GW installed.
The state projected to have the second-largest amount of wind capacity by the end of the decade is Illinois with 19.62GW. Of that, 19.49GW will be land-based. This means that capacity in the Prairie State will have almost tripled by 2030 compared to its current level. At the end of 2020, Illinois had just 6.4GW installed.
Iowa will be the state with the third-largest amount of wind capacity by 2030. The DOE expects the Hawkeye State to have 17.3GW by the end of the decade, all of it on land. Currently, the state has a total of around 11.66GW.
Next comes Montana, which is expected to have 15.94GW of wind capacity by the end of the decade, all land-based. This represents a dramatic increase on the current level, with the state boasting just 880MW of installed capacity at the end of 2020.
And the state expected to have the fifth-highest amount of wind capacity in 2030? Indiana, with 13.5GW, up more than four-fold from the current level of 2.96GW.
With expectations high for wind industry growth in these five states, the pressure is on for each state to grow its wind workforce accordingly. Across the US, wind turbine service technicians are expected to be among the fastest-growing jobs from 2019 to 2029, with an anticipated increase of 61 percent.
However, growing the wind industry workforce could be more challenging than you think.
The wind industry is being adversely affected by a shortage of technicians. This has led to a situation where there are too many low-skilled technicians. This is partly because they are a cheaper and more attractive option for contractors under pressure from operators to make capital savings in O&M [operations and maintenance].
The problem is that cheap technicians tend to be inexperienced and consequently won’t necessarily address the problems operators have with turbines. Therefore, this won’t ensure they are working optimally.
The result? Operators miss out on revenue and have a higher risk of costly problems occurring.
And there is an additional challenge. As demand for technicians outstrips supply, contractors are experiencing high levels of churn as skilled technicians join rival firms.
How to Hire Technicians with the Skills you Need
Given this environment, it’s crucial that the wind industry hires technicians with the core skills needed to carry out work safely and profitably.
With the anticipated wind industry growth between now and the end of the decade, wind companies will be under severe pressure to evaluate their project needs, particularly in relation to labor requirements.
This can certainly be a major undertaking, but Workrise can help.
We will work with you to evaluate the requirements for your project and provide transparent, end-to-end project management. You’ll also receive site support via updates and analysis at every stage of the project.
We’ll ensure your jobs are completed correctly, on time, and on budget.
Don’t just take our word for it – the results speak for themselves. We had a 97.8% customer satisfaction score and a 99.92% quality success rate in 2020.
Talk to us! Workrise can help with staffing, technology, training, and professional services – so you can get back to focusing on what you do best. Visit our website at www.workrise.com.