Rich guys in old movies would complain about good help being so hard to find. If they were talking about the modern wind industry, they’d be right again, and in up-and-coming wind countries even more so.
Take Turkey, for instance. Nearly 1,800 MW were installed there by the end of 2010, and the country has a potential for 48 GW. One minor drawback: The lack of trained local manpower (it’s near zero) has put wind energy investments almost on hold. The owners for wind farms that do get built are tied to foreign labor. What’s more, wind-farm developers worry about getting into “risky” markets.
The solution, of course, is in Iowa. Iowa? Yes. A community college there has such a good reputation in wind energy, people around the world are looking to emulate it. Iowa Lakes Community College student Ethan Hunter, an immigrant from the Republic of Turkey, says that country is getting into wind power, big time. “The Turkish market is growing slowly because there is not enough local man power. Everything is coming from Europe,” he adds.
Hunter says it costs millions to import a workforce, so why not train able-bodied locals? His goal is to start a school to do just that. Called Wind Academy Turkey, it would be modeled after Iowa Lakes for a reason. “I did my research before I enrolling here. This is the best college for wind training in the nation,” said Hunter.
To prove that, Hunter invited government representatives from the Republic to visit the College. They met with school officials and got a first-hand look at what makes this school successful. Visiting dignitaries checked out everything from classrooms to ILCC’s 1.5 MW wind turbine. What they learn they’ll incorporate into their school, abroad. “This project is one of its kind on the planet. For instance, it’ co-operated by an American college, supported by Turkish government, and powered by wind industry leaders,” says Hunter. He’d like to get Wind Academy Turkey running by the end of 2013.
Iowa Lakes instructors like the idea, too. They say the wind industry could always use the help. “We cannot supply the workforce demand. Almost up to 2023, there’s a deficit,” says Wind Energy Instructor Doug Enger. “I think the more help we have to educate people and get them in the workforce, the better.”
Renewable Energy Systems, LLC
Filed Under: News, Policy, Training