December 22, 2010
Developing a wind farm—groups of wind turbines used to produce electricity from wind power—is a challenging process and usually takes several years from inception to construction, and requires workers in many different occupations.
Professional occupations in the wind energy industry include engineers, scientists, and logisticians. Aerospace engineers, for example, design, test, and supervise the manufacture of turbine blades and rotors, and conduct aerodynamics assessments, while atmospheric scientists (or meteorologists) monitor the atmosphere around a potential project to ensure that there is adequate wind to produce electricity.
Workers in construction occupations build and repair roads, buildings, and other structures. Construction occupations in the wind energy industry include laborers, electricians, and equipment operators.
By operating machines and other equipment, workers in production occupations assemble goods and distribute energy. Production occupations in the wind energy industry include machinists, machine tool operators, assemblers, and inspectors.
Workers in transportation occupations move people and materials. Transportation occupations in the wind energy industry include truck drivers and crane operators.
Earnings data in this article are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see "Careers in wind energy," by Drew Liming and James Hamilton, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2010. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not currently publish wage data specific to the wind energy industry. The chart shows the median annual wage (across all industries) of the occupations described.