How Much Do Wind Turbine Technicians Make?
Salaries are dependent on experience, education, and skills. Payscale collects data from four categories of workers: wind turbine technician; turbine technician; wind technician; and wind technician I. The average hourly wage ranges from $21.35 for a wind technician I to $23.58 for a wind technician. Entry-level technicians average up to 6 percent less than their co-workers. Experienced workers can earn up to 34 percent more than the average. Few technicians have more than 20 years of experience as they tend to advance to other positions.
The BLS (May 2017) reported that 4,390 wind turbine service technicians were employed nationwide. They earned an average of $56,680 annually and the following percentiles:
- 10th percentile: $37,850
- 25th percentile: $44,550
- 50th percentile (median): $53,880
- 75th percentile: $66,330
- 90th percentile: $80,170
The salaries can vary according to the industry in which the technician is employed. The BLS reported the May 2017 median salaries by industry as follows:
- Electric power generation: $58,430
- Professional, scientific, and technical services: $50,680
- Utility system construction: $49,840
- Repair and maintenance: $47,250
Median salaries are the wages at which half the technicians earned more than that amount and half earned less.
Cities That Have the Highest Pay
The BLS (May 2017) reported the following cities as having the highest average annual pay for wind turbine service technicians:
- Duluth, MN-WI: $69,100
- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $57,040
- Bakersfield, CA: $51,250
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: $50,390
The State of Minnesota gets half of its power from renewable energy sources. Electricity produced by wind energy costs less than electricity produced by natural gas or coal according to 2017 statistics. The population of Duluth has declined at a time when job opportunities have increased. The greatest number of workers have white-collar jobs, and the area pays a premium to attract blue-collar workers.
The Vallejo-Fairfield area is subject to gusty winds, which have been put to advantage in producing electricity. The area is home to small wind turbine installations as well as 6,800 acres of commercial wind farms generating hundreds of watts. The demand for windtechs continues to increase, with high wages paid to attract workers.
Bakersfield is located in Kern County, California, which in 2015 was ranked number one in wind power capacity nationwide. The nearby Alta Wind project was the largest wind farm in the U.S. at the time. Completion includes 600 wind turbines, creating a demand for wind turbine installers and service personnel. Wages are high in order to attract qualified windtechs.
Additionally, Houston bills itself and nearby areas as a global center for wind energy. Houston is home to dozens of companies involved in all aspects of the production and transmission of electricity from wind. Wind turbine technicians at all skill levels, from design to manufacturing to installation to power generation, transmission, and storage are needed.
States That Have the Highest Pay
The BLS (May 2017) reported the following states as having the highest average annual pay for wind turbine service technicians:
- West Virginia: $64,860
- Iowa: $62,320
- Colorado: $61,450
- South Dakota: $61,190
- North Dakota: $60,360
West Virginia has been hard-hit by the decline in coal mining, but miners happen to have skill sets that transfer well to working on wind turbine installations. Because so many individuals left the state when their coal mining jobs disappeared, those who remained are in demand for green energy jobs like windtechs.
By 2017, Iowa was getting more than 36 percent of its energy from the wind. The state ranked third in the U.S. for capacity, number of wind turbines, and power produced. Although local schools offer wind turbine technology training, not enough students enroll. The shortage of trained technicians has led to higher wages for the available workers. The job situation is much the same in Colorado and the Dakotas. For varying reasons, trained windtechs are in short supply. As more wind farms are built or scheduled for construction to meet growing green energy demands, the need for technicians remains greater than the supply.