The first privately owned and operated instructional program and training center for wind energy technicians is scheduled to open in July 2009 in Vancouver, Washington, according to Arch Miller, founder of the parent company, International Air and Hospitality Academy. The Wind Energy Technician course is the first for alternative energy workers that will be taught in a separate division of the academy, called the Northwest Renewable Energy Institute (NW-REI). Training for other renewable energy technologies will follow.
Miller says the course is a direct response to the huge demand for wind power as a means of generating electricity in the United States. At the beginning of 2008 wind power accounted for just over one percent of the nation’s electricity, or some 16,818 MWe. Last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry installed about 42 percent of all the new electric generating capacity in 2008 and created 35,000 jobs, primarily in construction and manufacturing.
“Currently there are some 85,000 Americans employed in the wind energy business in the U.S.,” Miller says. “The U.S. Department of Energy reports that wind energy is capable of generating 20 percent of the nation’s electricity by the year 2030. If we meet that goal the number of workers involved in wind power will grow from 85,000 today to 450,000 by 2030. That’s a huge demand for new workers in this field, which today pays between $36,000 and $68,000 annually, depending on education and experience.” To learn more call Colleen Piller at (360) 695-2500 or go to www.nwenergyinstitute.com.