• Steve Eberly

Wind By The Numbers: More Energy, More Jobs

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

Back in the winter my daughter, Megan was at the local convenience store. You have to know that Meg is at least as gregarious as I am. So, Megan is waiting in the checkout line when she noticed the “Vestas” hat on the person in line with her. Meg grinned and offered, “Hey, you should meet my Dad.” A few texts back and forth, and now I know another fantastic person working in the renewable energy industry – my new friend Ben.

It is a great time to be employed within the Renewables sector in Indiana. According to the American Wind Energy Association’s Wind Powers America 2019 Annual Report, employment in the Hoosier wind industry has increased exponentially. Based upon the report, there were between 6,000 and 7,000 Indiana residents employed in the wind industry. That is close to double what we saw in 2018.

Wind energy in Indiana has increased to where wind now powers an estimated 569,400 Indiana homes. That is a 6 percent increase in one year – meaning wind now powers almost a quarter of all Hoosier households!

Indiana employment in the solar energy sector is also impressive – and on the rise as our solar development pipelines grows.

Big numbers with even bigger impact. But you know why these numbers matter to me? Because each one is an individual, with a family, and impacts our community vitality. So back to my new friend Ben.

Ben has been employed with Vestas in Benton County for over three years. He trained at the Vestas Training Center in Portland, Oregon and is now a Technician II at the Vestas maintenance facility in Benton County.

I recently asked Ben to answer two questions for me:

1. What do you like best about working on wind turbines? “What I like best is the diversity of the workday. You never know what you are going to be doing from day to day. You have freedom to make decisions on your own and learn from those deductions for the next time you encounter the problem.”

2. What does it mean to have a steady job-especially during the virus thing? “It means the world to me and my family that I have a steady, local job that has allowed me to work thought this virus(event), and not to have to file for unemployment and worry if I’ll even have a job after its over. It’s given my family a lot of security and peace knowing we won’t have to worry about me having a job”.

Wow. Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Let’s keep this industry growing so we can all meet a Ben in our local convenience store.


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