Wind Power 2008 highlights renewable-energy jobs

HOUSTON, TEXAS - In recent months, the economic news has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride because of the devaluation of the dollar, recessionary fears and soaring fuel costs.

These have all led to cutbacks for some segments of the nation's work force and industries. It is probable that the hardest-hit areas have been airlines and automobile companies. Numerous organizations in these segments have announced substantial layoffs and other measures to protect their bottom line.

Although participants in these areas of the U.S. economy struggle to stay afloat, the picture is much different for the Power Industry.

In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. Construction of power plants, ongoing environmental retrofits and an aging operational workforce has the industry in competition with other segments of the industrial world for qualified employees.

At the Wind Power 2008 Conference and Exhibition held recently at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, this drive to draw new talent into the industry was on display in an impressive fashion. Many of the exhibitors at the conference are experiencing a record year as development of new wind projects continues to boom.

Job fairs sponsored by companies such as Black & Veatch, BP Alternative Energy, Clipper Windpower, GE Energy, Suzlon and Vestas were forefront at the exhibition. The North American Wind Research and Training Center, which advertised a two-year program resulting in an Applied Sciences Certificate in wind energy technology, was also interested in hiring experienced personnel and training recent college graduates.

This leads us to see that while certain segments of the economy are experiencing a rough period, others are experiencing prosperous times. The energy sector and specifically the power-generation industry, is having a record year and is having trouble finding enough applicants to fill high-paying and technologically cutting-edge positions.

Renewable energy engineers, operations and maintenance, project management, construction technician, architects, CAD technicians, remote monitoring and diagnostics, product testing, mechanical design, inventory management, project assistant, pre-construction managers and estimators were just some of the positions that were available to applicants advertised by companies at the Wind Power 2008 Conference and Exhibition.

These wind industry leaders were not shy in advertising their need of personnel during this record growth in renewable energy and wind power is not on the fringe of the power generation industry any longer. The need for electricity has never been greater, especially for renewable power in addressing the perceived global warming issues; therefore, wind energy is now mainstream and growing and will continue for years to come.

With the nation's manufacturing employment suffering through a downturn, jobs in the renewable energy field may fill the gap until the economy turns around. The convention is a showcase for the wind-generation industry and additionally a great showcase for the future of power generation and renewable power as we move forward into 2010 and beyond.



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