With many jobs and industries being dissolved with the introduction of new technology. Taxi drivers losing out to Uber, factory and warehousing jobs being replaced with automated robotics, even truck drivers being predicted to be replaced with autonomous vehicles.
Is your job as a climber safe... and for how long?
Don't worry! It’s actually an exciting time for current and up and coming Rope Access Technicians. The Renewable Energy industry, especially Wind Turbines, is developing rapidly and with it comes the need for more qualified staff. Recent years have seen considerable increase in the construction of Wind Turbine farms around the world.
In the US, the solar and wind industries are creating jobs 12 times faster than the average US economy, according to this report.
The rapid growth is, in part, driven by the significant reductions in installation costs and manufacturing expenses. In the US, there are also federal subsidies and tax credits which have bolstered the increase in the renewable energy industry.
What does this mean for Australia?
Australia is experiencing similar growth in the sector with 5 Wind Turbine Farms becoming operational in 2016, taking it to a total of 79 wind farms across the country. This placed Australia 17th in the world for Wind Turbine Renewable Energy. In addition, 16 projects with a combined installed capacity of 1,861 MW are either under construction, constructed or will start construction in 2017 having reached financial closure.
Along with the US and Australia, these countries China, Germany, India, Spain, the UK, Canada, France, Brazil, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Poland, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands have significant investment in Wind Farms.
Rope Access Technicians are required during both the construction phase and for ongoing maintenance of the Wind Turbines (blade technicians etc).
For example, the widely used GE 1.5-megawatt model turbine. Consisting of 35 metre (116-ft) blades atop a 65 metre (212-ft) tower for a total height of 100 metres (328 feet). That is taller than Big Ben in London. With the blades sweeping a vertical airspace of just under an acre (4000 square metres) is a common model around the world.
Why move to a Rope Access career in wind energy?
The role of the experienced technician, working at heights, through construction and through maintenance is vital.
For many years, the mining industry has been a major employer of Rope Access Technicians. Recent reports, however, have indicated that there will be a decline in job prospects in this industry in future years due to automation and robotics, especially in the larger mining companies. Understandably, this has cast a feeling of uncertainty through the workers, with many considering whether their trades and skills are valuable into the future, or if they should be retraining in another field.
Excitingly, with the continued expansion of Wind Turbine Farms in the Renewable Energy Industry, the requirement for these construction and maintenance roles will continue to increase around the world. The need for precision Rope Access workers is a necessity for the foreseeable future.
It is an exciting time in the Rope Access Industry to see career opportunities expanding. With many other trades and careers disappearing, with the introduction of technology. The reverse is true in this instance. The positive impact on this industry’s career opportunities is due to technological developments which are directly increasing the need for this skilled career. Energy costs are coming down with the adoption of wind. Wind energy costing less than Nuclear Energy and Gas, with costs coming down post infrastructure builds and technological advancements.
Not only can there be opportunities in your home country. International travel and career advancement are available and growing around the world.
So whether you’re a business owner in another industry that keeps having to compete on price, or a climber that is seeing a shortage of work. It is reassuring to see that the prospects in wind energy and the growing renewable industry, are looking secure for years to come.
We'd love to hear from you! If you are currently working on wind turbines or looking into a career in the renewable energy sector. Let us know your thoughts.
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