Wind energy operations managers ensure the operations of a wind farm run smootly and efficiently.
The process of getting energy from the wind into the home or business is complex and involves many players. A modern wind turbine consists of approximately 8,000 parts and can be up to 300 feet high. Turbines must be designed, built, transported, and erected before they can convert the wind energy into electricity. This process can be split into three major phases: manufacturing, project development, and operation and maintenance. These phases overlap and there is substantial communication among players in all three phases. Wind energy operations manager jobs are involved in the operations and maintenance phase of wind turbines.
Wind energy operations managers main focus is to manage wind farm operations, including personnel management, maintenance and operational activities, financial activities, and planning. These green job holders work very closely with wind energy engineers and wind energy project managers. One of their main tasks is to oversee the maintenance of wind farm equipment or structures, such as towers, transformers, electrical collector systems, roadways, or other site assets. They determine if towers or transformers need cleaning or repair. They ensure that roadways have access to the wind turbines to ensures that workers, engineers, and technicians can reach them easily.
A big part of running a wind farm is managing employees. They supervise employees or subcontractors to ensure quality of work or adherence to safety regulations or policies. They recruit or hire wind operations employees, contractors, or subcontractors. They also train or coordinate the training of employees in operations, safety, environmental issues, or technical issues. Wind energy operations managers provide technical support to wind farm employees or subcontractors. They also resolve any conflicts that may arise.
Wind energy operations managers oversee the day-to-day work of wind farms. They monitor and maintain records of daily facility operations. They also maintain operations records, such as work orders, site inspection forms, or other documentation. Wind energy operation manager manage warranty repair or replacement services. They order parts, tools, or equipment needed to maintain, restore, upgrades or improve wind farm operations. They also track and maintain records for wind operations, such as site performance, downtime events, parts usage, or substation events.
Wind energy operations managers set goals, objectives, and priorities for wind farm operations and make sure they meet wind farm production goals. They estimate costs associated with operations, including repairs, preventive maintenance or improvement. Based on estimates, they prepare wind farm operational budgets. They develop processes or procedures for wind operations, including transitioning from construction to commercial operations. They review, negotiate, or approve wind farm contracts. Wind energy operations managers use their communication skills to develop relationships and communicate with customers, site managers, developers, land owners and residents. They also work with government authorities and local utility representatives.
These green job holders may use specialized tools in their occupation such as anemometers, infrared imagers, lubricating oil testing kit, micrometers and torque tools. They also use specialized software such as facilities management software, industrial control software, project management software, and spreadsheet software.
Wind energy operations managers work in offices and wind farms. Many are expected to travel frequently to wind farms located on or off-shore to oversee operation and maintenance activities. Most Wind energy operations managers work a standard 40-hour week, but can expect occasional evening, weekend, and holiday work.
Obtaining a green career as a wind energy operations managers requires at minimum a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or other related disciplines. Strong management and communication skills are expected for individuals in this occupation. They must also be organized and detail oriented to prepare budgets and keep records.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a bright outlook for wind energy operations managers and expects employment of this field to grow about 9 percent from 2010 until 2020; slower than the average for all green jobs. The BLS projected 249,400 wind energy operations managers job openings between 2010 and 2020, and noted 828,000 jobs are currently filled. Titles included Wind Operations Manager, Wind Field Service Manager, Wind Farm Operations Manager, and Offshore Wind Operations Manager. The BLS further reports that the median annual wage for salaried Wind energy operations managers was $100,890 in 2012 with median hourly wage of $ 48.51. Wind Energy Operations Managers make the most money in the District of Columbia, which has pay levels, on average, of close to $124070.