What Does a Wind Power Engineer Do?

Jan Fletcher

A wind power engineer may perform duties that span materials design, manufacturing, or maintenance of wind power generation assemblies. He or she may test, repair, or install wind power equipment. Another common task for a wind power engineer is gathering, researching and analyzing geographical and meteorological data on a site for a wind farm. Professionals in this field may also work as electrical engineers who connect the wind power generated to the electrical grid.

A wind farm.
A wind farm.

Components that make up the assembly of a wind generator are usually designed by engineers who work in the wind power industry. The manufacturing of these components is another task that an engineer may perform or oversee. Blades, turbines and posts used in a wind power project must meet engineering standards, both for performance and reasons of public safety.

Wind farm on the ocean.
Wind farm on the ocean.

A wind power engineer may also run tests and evaluate the performance of prototype wind power assemblies. Some mechanical engineers may construct assemblies to manufacture the often large composite structures that comprise the blades. Composite materials engineers are a subgroup of this profession that is responsible for designing and making the blade assemblies.

The physical forces that are manipulated in wind power generation place great physical stress on turbines and assemblies, necessitating repair. Mechanical or electrical engineers who work in the wind power industry also supervise the repair of wind turbines, assuring the work completed by construction personnel meets safety and performance standards. A wind power engineer may also oversee the installation of equipment that collects weather data. He or she may evaluate that data to determine the best orientation and placement for the wind-powered turbines. This often occurs in the site preparation phase, before the infrastructure in a wind farm project is installed.

Wind power engineers may work with electrical engineers to configure an adequate connection to the power grid. This is done to ensure electrical current generated may be distributed safely from the generator to power grid, without endangering people. A wind power engineer will also perform calculations to determine the amount of power generated from a wind source. Since wind power is intermittent, as it is dependent upon natural wind movement, a wind power engineer may analyze past wind performance. He or she will do this in an effort to help electrical utility managers predict peak and low levels of wind power generation.

In this industry, "wind power engineer" is a catchall term. It often refers to someone who has a degree in aerodynamic engineering, which means that he or she understands and manipulates aerodynamic forces. Mechanical and electrical engineers also work in the wind power generation industry, constructing the supporting structures for the aerodynamic operation of the wind turbines.

A wind power engineer may gather, research and analyze data on the side of a wind farm.
A wind power engineer may gather, research and analyze data on the side of a wind farm.

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