Learn more about wind energy by reading magazines such as Windpower Monthly (https://www.windpowermonthly.com) and Renewable Energy Magazine (https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com). A part-time or summer job in a company that offers wind energy project management services is a good way to find out what project managers do while making valuable connections in the field. You can also conduct an informational interview with a project manager to learn how they got into the profession and what steps they can recommend to you. Ask your school's career services office for help with setting up an interview and finding job opportunities. You can also search for job listings on employment Web sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired, as well as the career sections of professional associations' Web sites.
The wind turbine is the modern, high-tech equivalent of yesterday’s windmill. A single wind turbine can harness the wind’s energy to generate enough electricity to power a house or small farm. Wind farms, also called wind plants, are a collection of high-powered turbines that can generate electricity for tens of thousands of homes. In addition to development on land, wind projects are also being developed offshore.
Wind energy project managers coordinate and manage wind energy projects. They are involved in directing environmental studies, energy assessments, wind farm development, engineering, and/or construction activities. They create plans for wind energy projects, covering topics such as the scope of the work, specific tasks, schedules, estimated costs, materials and resources, and other essential project information.
Wind energy project managers may negotiate agreements and contracts for land use and permitting or they may oversee and provide support to negotiators. They hire and supervise subcontractors and consultants, making sure that the work is performed according to specifications and schedules, meets quality standards and project budgets, and is in compliance with environmental regulations.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that “building a wind farm is a complex process. Site selection alone requires years of research and planning. And the proposed site must meet several criteria, such as developable land, adequate wind, suitable terrain, and public acceptance. In addition, wind turbines must be deemed safe for wildlife, particularly birds, and be sited away from populated areas because of noise and safety concerns.” Wind energy project managers are among the many skilled workers who help select the site, ensure that it will not adversely affect the surrounding environment, and install turbines and support structures. Once the site is selected and the land purchased or leased, construction of the wind turbine or wind farm can begin.