Chance Jacobson

Wind Turbine Technician 2

I became interested in wind energy during my junior year of high school when several things happened at once. First, I realized there wasn’t room to join my dad and grandpa in our family farming operation like I’d hoped. We were considering my options when we heard about wind energy from a technician who was working on one of our tractors. He said he regretted not going into the industry, and my interest was piqued. A few Google searches later, I decided to look for educational opportunities on the subject.

To my amazement, Cloud County Community College had an associate degree program and it was only an hour and a half from home. I was able to take half the required courses while I was still in high school, saving significant time and money. After a year at Cloud and one summer class to finish up my last credit hours, I graduated with my two-year degree.

I currently work for Enel Green Power as a wind turbine technician 2. My duties include troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing AW3000 wind turbines. There’s always something that needs to be fixed or completed in order for the wind farm to produce clean power efficiently, so the job is fast paced and there’s something new almost every day. It’s extremely rewarding when you spend a lot of time trying to resolve an issue in a turbine and finally get it back up and running again. It's like one big mechanical, electrical, hydraulic puzzle!

I would like to become a tech 3 or even a site lead if the right position opens up. Enel has an excellent tuition assistance program, but I’ve decided not to get a bachelor’s degree at this time. I happen to work at a site only a few miles from where I grew up, so I’m able to farm on the side with my dad and grandpa after all — my original dream of farming full time someday could also be possible after a few years in this career!

My advice to people curious about wind energy is to do your homework. I took a few computer classes in high school but I wish my knowledge were deeper. Soak up as much as possible about Microsoft programs, Google Suite, and anything else that might be useful to gather or manage data and information. Wind energy requires the ability to think deeply about complex problems, so be excited to learn!

You should also be prepared for some hard work, especially in extreme hot and cold weather conditions. Safety is another important consideration — these turbines are 288 feet tall, and climbing to the top on a ladder is necessary daily. But you can do extremely well for yourself financially if you work hard and make good decisions, and in my opinion that offsets some of the risks.

Becoming a good troubleshooter requires a stubborn, never-give-up attitude. I love being a wind tech because you’re sent out into the field to fix multimillion-dollar turbines, and it's a great feeling knowing you stepped up and met that challenge.