What it’s like to be a wind turbine technician

The state of North Dakota has 210 wind technicians the fourth-highest number in the nation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number is expected to double over the next eight years.

Every day Chris Sutton straps on his safety gear and goes up his destination?

180 feet above ground.


“I tell everybody I have the best office view in the state,” said wind turbine technician Chris Sutton.

His job as a wind turbine technician will be in high demand over the next decade.

“The life span of wind is somewhat just starting the last fifteen or twenty years is when wind started,” said Wind farm supervisor Mark Loats. 

It’s a job of many trades. 

“You do everything from electronics to large component mechanical, greasing, there’s a huge variety of in our day to day activities,” said Loats.

“I like the aspect of trouble shooting with my job and stuff and it was something that was available here,” said Sutton.

Both Sutton and Loats work for Basin Electric, keeping more than 80 wind turbines near Max spinning. 

“Each machine produces about 1.5 mega watts,” said Loats.

That’s enough to power 164 homes. 

“In the long run it is more economical, the only draw back is that we only produce power as much as there is availability of the fuel which is wind,” said Loats.


Nathalie Gomez reporting: The wind turbines are 20 feet taller than the state capitol building in Bismarck, standing at 262 feet to the hub. That’d be like 48 of me. 

“The view is awesome,” said Sutton.

His best advice to those interested in the career?

“I would say you probably want to take a look into a technical college there’s a handful of really good ones in the state or out of state that would be good,” said Sutton.

and at the rate wind energy is blowing harnessing a job in the industry may not be not a bad idea. 

Colleges that offer certificate and training programs in the state: 

Bismarck State College – Bismarck, ND
Lake Region State College – Devil’s Lake, ND

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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