WindTV: Oregon turbine training program creates opportunity
Tyrell Quantrell has found a promising career in the wind energy industry, and he found it right at home in the Pacific Northwest. Quantrell now works as a wind turbine technician, thanks to an exciting industry that with the right policies can keep expanding, as well as a local community college program developed as a result of that industry.
Perhaps most of all, of course, credit Quantrell’s own hard work. His story is captured in the latest installment of WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) new vehicle to highlight how wind power works for America.
Now employed by Granite Services and working on GE wind turbines, Quantrell studied at Columbia Gorge Community College in Oregon, where he received an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in renewable energy technology. “I’m very excited,” says a low-key but enthusiastic Quantrell. “I’ve got a good future ahead of me with this.”
For its part, early this year Columbia Gorge was among the first set of three institutions to receive AWEA’s new Seal of Approval for wind turbine service technician training programs.
Over the last six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, including seven facilities and nearly 3,000 jobs in Oregon.
WindTV is a new showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. The site, located at www.awea.org/windtv, features a different video profile each week.
“Congratulations to Tyrell Quantrell on embarking on an exciting new career,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “Wind technician jobs are just one example of how wind power generates not only electrons to power our cities and towns, but good jobs in rural America. To keep this industry growing, Congress must extend the federal Production Tax Credit.”
The Production Tax Credit (PTC), the industry’s primary policy driver, is set to expire at the end of next year. Earlier this month, Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) introduced a bipartisan bill to extend the PTC by four years, through 2016.
Other WindTV episodes have highlighted wind power’s ability to create manufacturing jobs, which often can be found in more urban settings, but Quantrell’s experience exemplifies how the industry creates jobs in rural communities as well. Wind farms also generate tax revenue, allowing rural communities to build much-needed schools and hospitals and satisfy other civic needs.
“Having the opportunity [is great], even though we’re out in the middle of nowhere, pretty much,” says Quantrell. “Job opportunities are here and it’s nice to have a good-paying job that’s close to home.”
To learn more about Quantrell’s experience at Columbia Gorge Community College and life as a wind technician, go to WindTV.