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Wind power is considered a leading source of new electricity generation in the United States, with the potential of providing 20% of the nation’s energy needs by 2030. The current wind power capacity in the U.S. totaled more than 35,000 megawatts (MW), generating enough power for almost 10 million homes. In 2009, the industry broke all records for installing new generating capacity, due to improved technology, lower costs of wind turbines, and federal and state incentives.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, most of the wind potential comes from the windy central regions, although many eastern and western states also have significant wind potential. Today, 36 states now have utility-scale wind projects, with Iowa leading in percentage of electricity from wind power (14%) and Texas in wind capacity, installing the largest numbers of wind farms. Challenges remain to realize America’s full wind power potential, including: the need for investments in the transmission infrastructure, reduction in wind capital costs and advances in technology for turbine performance improvement.

A skilled and trained workforce will be required due to the strong projected growth in the wind industry.

Currently, there are several hundred educational programs offer a certificate, degree, or courses related to wind energy, the majority in university or college programs or community college or technical schools. Some community colleges have developed wind programs leveraging existing industrial technology programs or courses such as mechatronics, mechanical engineering, hydraulics, electronics, electricity, automotive, and aviation. Workers who are ideally suited for wind careers today include those with electrical and manufacturing skills and competencies and work experience in traditional industries such as automotive, telecommunication and semi-conductors sectors.

SAGE Wind Part 1

SAGE Wind Part 2

SAGE Wind Part 4

SAGE Wind Part 1A

SAGE Wind Part 3