Castrol, a provider of lubricants to the wind energy industry, is launching the Castrol Wind Academy. The new Academy is a multi-channel training program designed to up-skill wind energy operations and maintenance (O&M) technician teams with the latest insights, technologies, processes, and examples of how best practices in O&M can improve operational efficiency, equipment life and profitability.
“Operations technicians and site managers are at the heart of the wind energy industry,” said S Ramchander, Chief Marketing Officer and Global VP of Marketing at Castrol & BP Lubricants. “It is important that they are up-skilled and trained to implement best practice operations onsite as conditions in the market are intensified over the coming years. The Castrol Wind Academy has been launched in response to the core challenges being faced in the industry and to directly address wind energy’s skills shortage.”
Maintenance teams are increasingly faced with a confluence of challenges in the industry: the reduction of subsidies, the end of warranties, and the development of new technologies. It is more critical than ever for technicians to keep their skills up to date to preserve wind farm competitiveness and profitability. As it stands, 78% of wind energy stake holders stated that finding suitably trained staff was either “difficult” or “very difficult,” according to Castrol.
With continuous pressure to reduce Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), operations technicians and site managers are expected to simultaneously improve efficiencies and maintain up-time in wind turbine operations. However, the rapid growth of the wind industry means there is a growing skills gap, with the need for technicians and site managers in wind operations set to triple in the next three to four years.
“The Academy aims to empower operations teams to effectively support the growth of the industry through education, certification and best practice,” added Ramchander.
Aimed at technicians with five years of experience or less, the Academy is a “capability building” program for technicians and site managers. It is made up of online courses, seminars, webinars, and face-to-face training sessions. The program consists of three stages, the first of which is an online training course to educate technicians on wind O&M basics — from gearbox and drive train technologies to predictive maintenance.
The second stage sees advanced topics taught via a virtual class and the third, an in-person training session on site. Stage 1 and 2 can be completed at a time that suits the technician, to ensure a convenient learning experience. On completion of the course, technicians will be awarded a certification by the Castrol Wind Academy.
“The Castrol Wind Academy pilot course was very successful and, building on a collaborative development process, we are now looking forward to welcoming our first intake of technician teams into the Academy course,” said Charudatta Joshi, Global Marketing Offer Development Manager at Castrol Lubricants.