Podojil & Associates, Inc. and their OSHA Training Institute partners are pleased to announce a new Safety Train The Trainer course in Wind Power Generation.
This course will familiarize the student in the OSHA requirements that are related to the wind power generation industry. The wind energy industry is the fastest growing segment of renewable energy production. The U.S. and Canadian commercial wind farms are experiencing annual growth of 25%. Employers seek skilled safety & health professionals and technicians for operation and maintenance activities in local wind farm settings. It is their belief that this is the only safety train the trainer course of this kind in the United States.
Wind power has been used for centuries, but is a relatively new source of electricity generation. Visually identifiable by its characteristic turbines, wind power has been used on a utility scale for only a few decades. Wind-generating capacity in the United States grew 39 percent per year from 2004 to 2009, and is expected to grow more rapidly as demand for renewable energy increases.[ As the wind energy industry continues to grow, it will provide many opportunities for workers in search of new careers. These careers extend beyond the wind farm: it also takes the efforts of workers in factories and offices to build and operate a turbine.
The wind energy industry has experienced rapid growth in the past decade. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in 2000, installed wind energy capacity in the United States was under 3,000 megawatts. It is now over 35,000 megawatts, enough electricity to power approximately 9.7 million homes. And this growth is accelerating. In 2009, 10,010 megawatts of new wind energy capacity was installed, more than in any previous year. As wind energy continues to grow in popularity, the development of American wind farms is expected to increase. Of course, the pace of wind energy development is influenced by current economic conditions.
Despite this growth, wind power is only a tiny segment of the national energy market. In 2009, wind energy made up 1.8 percent of U.S. power generation, an increase from 1.3 percent in 2008. However, wind power accounts for about 50 percent of renewable energy, which includes wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power, as well as energy from biomass and wood or wood-derived products Some States rely significantly more on wind power to fill their energy needs. For example, in 2009, 19.7 percent of Iowa’s electricity was produced by wind power. Growth in wind power is expected to continue. According to a report by the Department of Energy, it may be feasible for wind power to provide 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs by the year 2030
According to AWEA, an estimated 85,000 Americans are currently employed in the wind power industry and related fields. Many workers are found on wind farms, which are frequently located in the Midwest, Southwest, and Northeast regions of the United States. Texas, Iowa, and California are the leading States in wind power generating capacity, but many other States—including Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington—are in the process of substantially increasing their wind-generating capacity.
Numerous tasks in the construction, operation and maintenance of a wind turbine require strict safety guidelines and well-designed equipment. A wind technician may be required to work in a space the size of a bathroom sitting on an 80-meter tower the size of an elevator shaft 20 stories tall (though they may not have service lifts), with massive mechanical and high voltage electrical equipment filling much of the space, many miles from the closest town, at a site exposed to some of the strongest winds – and harsh weather – around. A technician may be required to inspect the front hub and blades of the turbine – from the small space inside, or, in some cases, while being suspended along the blade on the outside. And that’s just the job of the operation and maintenance technician. The construction crew had to work at the same site first, erecting the tower, turbine and rotor using some of the tallest mobile cranes in the crane industry, as well as installing underground electrical lines and access roads across harsh terrain. The foundation may require excavating a column 2 ½ stories deep, adding to safety challenges.
Strategies for Safety
Wind turbine owners and operators know that the turbine is most productive if it is kept in top condition, producing the optimum amount of electricity for a long time, with minimal down time due to mistakes or accidents. The safety professional contributes to that objective through diligent safety training for technicians, selection of functional and effective safety equipment, and strict enforcement of safety practices.
If you are interested in attending this course or having this course presented at your work location, please feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (612) 801-1032.
John F. (Jack) Podojil CHCM, CHMM, REP, REA, ASA, CUSA, CPEA, CHS-III
Podojil & Associates Inc.
42562 West Hall Drive
Maricopa, Arizona 85239