Anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to work on a wind farm should take two minutes and view a video segment on Matt Crawford, lead wind technician for Alliant Energy in Iowa. Crawford’s experience as a wind turbines tech is the subject of the latest segment on WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) recently launched vehicle to highlight how wind works for America. All across America, wind technicians are working to keep reliable wind turbines generating kilowatt-hours. As highly valued and skilled workers, they’re getting paid well to do the enjoyable and fulfilling work.
In the video, Crawford describes “a day in the life of a wind tech,” as he characterizes his insights in the piece. At a time when many rural communities are losing young residents because jobs are scarce, wind power has allowed the still-youthful Crawford and his wife to live near family in Iowa. “I feel that we are middle class,” he says in the video. “I feel that the wind industry has been able to bring me and my wife back close to home and have the opportunity that if we wanted to, my wife wouldn’t have to work. We’d be able to survive just fine.”
The power of wind to create jobs, however, could stall. The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and already developers are freezing plans for any new projects such as those that Crawford services. By passing an extension of the PTC, Congress will save American jobs currently in danger of being shipped overseas and help the wind industry support 500,000 American jobs by 2030 as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Energy in the George W. Bush administration. A new study finds that with stable tax policy, the wind industry can create and grow to almost 100,000 American jobs just in the next four years, including growing the wind manufacturing sector by one third to 46,000 American manufacturing jobs.
“AWEA salutes the outstanding skilled workers of the wind power industry—people like Nathan Crawford—who make wind power the reliable, job-generating energy source it is today,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “To create more jobs for people like Nathan, Congress must extend the Production Tax Credit as soon as possible.”
Crawford is certainly counting on a long future in wind power. In the video he shares the thrill of taking a new employee to the top of a tower, where the employee inevitably expresses awe when taking in both the view and the experience of working on an amazing technology. “Every time you hear that, it clicks that this is a pretty cool job,” says Crawford. “It’s pretty cool that I get to do this every day.”
WindTV is a showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. The site, located at www.awea.org/windtv, features a different video profile each week.
To view the segment on Crawford and how wind power is generating well-paying jobs in America, go to WindTV.
By Carl Levesque, AWEA Editor & Publications Manager, www.awea.org/blog