The US wind sector has something to celebrate—a boom in the last five years has led to 120,000 jobs in all 50 states. The problem is that there aren’t 120,000 qualified technicians to fill these roles. How can operators find skilled contractors? RigUp is using our expertise and industry-leading data to address these questions and help find solutions.
A breakdown of the talent crunch problem
Contractors are under pressure to reduce operating costs. One way to do that is by using low-skilled technicians. But their inexperience can mean turbines aren’t working optimally, leading to missed revenue and potentially costly problems.
However, low-skilled technicians are often the only ones available. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technicians reported that their skill set was mostly acquired through long-term training on the job. But many contractors are stretched thin, and may not have the time or resources to invest in bringing technicians up to standard.
The skills shortage means contractors don’t have the workers on hand to conduct predictive maintenance, a technique which allows repairs to happen when the winds are slower, minimizing a loss of production. The industry is further damaged by the high level of churn, a byproduct of the greater demand for workers.
A three-part solution to addressing wind’s skills shortages
1. Train for core skills
Focus on hiring technicians that have the core skills that you need, focusing on these questions:
- Do my technicians have Global Wind Organization certification?
- Do they need re-training or are their certifications up-to-date?
- Are they trained and experienced with high-voltage systems?
- Are they trained and experienced with balance of plant work?
RigUp’s role: We work with firms to ensure they hire fully-qualified technicians who can drive up industry standards, at a fair price. We’re also launching a state-of-the-art training facility to help close the skills gap.
2. Offer career progression
Support technicians to develop the skills that will help them progress their careers and prepare for the future—when the balance of supply and demand may not be in their favor. Not only will this result in highly skilled workers, but it will boost retention as well.
RigUp’s role: RigUp is developing a dedicated GWO-certified training facility to support training programs in a variety of roles. RigUp has also pledged $200,000 in building programs to upskill workers.
3. Monitor on-site activities
Reduce the cost of lost production by staying one step ahead of turbine maintenance. A combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence software, and in-depth engineering expertise can help operators identify potential problems in advance.
RigUp’s role: We offer a range of services that provide high levels of technical support to operators, such as construction management, self-perform construction, turbine maintenance and repair, blade repair, plant operations, and BOP services. We take pride in the long-term value of our predictive maintenance services, giving meaningful and up-to-date preventative measures and recommendations on how best to protect your asset.
Wind will play an increasingly important role in the energy sector. In fact, it could produce around 20% of US electricity by 2030—up 7% from now. In order to get there, the industry needs to address these skills shortages, so wind can meet its full potential. Everyone, from contractors to certification bodies, has a part to play. And RigUp has an important part to play, too. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can support your site and boost the skills of your workers.
Download the full report here.