Here is a gallery with some proof!

http://imgur.com/a/QM8UG

Edit: Thanks guys enjoyed all the questions but I have to go to bed! Have a great night and be safe Reddit!

Comments: 505 • Responses: 90  • Date: 

S_king_100 karma

Have you seen the picture of the two men hugging on top of the burning windmill? Can you give context on what happened in that situation and if there are any safeguard now against it, (maybe a wench on the outside or something?)

jsmith47944154 karma

Yes that was the first picture they showed us in safety training. When we go up we take a self rescue kit, a team rescue kit, and there is a 3rd kit already in the tower. However there is a deck below where some people choose to leave their harnesses and rescue bags. These men did that. The towers are composed of a lot of fiberglass which burns hot and fast. When that particular turbine went up, they didn't have time to go back in and grab their gear. One man attempted to and was killed in the fire and the other man chose to end his life and jumped. It is a very sad story that could have very well been prevented. It's a reminder to always think bout what could happen. To me personally, the extra 7 pound self rescue kit is a bit of a pain in the ass to carry, but at the end of the day if something goes really wrong I know it can get me to the bottom so I can go home to my family.

Gradual__russian77 karma

What's in the rescue kit? Does it allow you to rappel down the turbine so you can get onto the ground safely?

jsmith4794464 karma

Our SRK-11 (Self rescue kit) has 300 feet of chord and a rope rider designed to be tied off and we just slide down our rope to the bottom. Our main rescue kit has this but on a bigger scaled as well as several different lanyards and carabiners that can be hooked onto people different ways. In that kit, we also have a really cool device called a HAW system which is basically a 6:1 pulley system that we can attatch to a point that will turn 300 pounds into 50 pounds so you aren't trying to deadlift a guy who weighs 250 pounds by yourself. Everything is rated at a minion of 5,000 pound breaking point but most of the gear can hold around 10,000.

rabbitlion23 karma

Isn't there a big risk that the rope will start swinging in the wind and hit the tower?

jsmith4794435 karma

We have tag line we can throw down to people down tower to prevent this from happening, the same way we tag our gear to keep it from banging into the tower.

ek20522 karma

Do you have drills and get to actually practice using the equipment off the windmills?

jsmith4794433 karma

Yes, we went through extensive training and if we get iced out or there is lightning we do safety drills.

BeagleIL16 karma

Are there places engineered up to for you to tie the chord to? And considering the photo they show you is a turbine on fire, is the chord/rope fire proof?

jsmith4794429 karma

Yes we have heavy duty anchor points and the rope tie off is fire proof.

goalslammer17 karma

So what causes a fire to break out so suddenly on a turbine like this?

jsmith4794422 karma

I'm not exactly sure what caused that one. However I know in ours we have several systems in place that would all need to fail in order for anything to overheat to the point it would catch on fire.

DrOhReally15 karma

How does the self-rescue kit work? Do you not have to climb down anyway?

jsmith4794432 karma

Basically it is 300 feet of 5,000 pound rope in a bag with what we call a rope rider at one end that carabiners off onto an anchor point. It is a friction device that you set a certain number of wraps on according to your weight and all you do to descend is lightly pull down on it and the rope will feed from your bag all the way down.

taytermuffin10 karma

If there was a fire, wouldn't it burn through the rope and you'd fall? Are there specific places on the turbine to attach your gear to so you can rappel down?

jsmith4794429 karma

Yes there are several anchor points we can attach onto. And supposedly the parts of our kits where we tie off are fire resistant up to 900 degrees to give us plenty of time to get down but you'd bet your ass if there was ever a fire I'd be descending as fast as I could

er-day13 karma

I always thought a parachute would be a great addition to their kit.

jsmith4794412 karma

You would either break your legs hitting the ground or just slam into it and die :(

caosborne2 karma

Do you happen to work anywhere in Texas?

I know I'd have my base rig on of I was standing on top of that. I know you guys for the most part clip in but still as a safety I want my parachute.

jsmith479442 karma

No but I know a lot of guys in Texas working at wind farms!

aaaaaaaarrrrrgh11 karma

It's a bit low to safely jump off with a parachute unless you're a skilled base jumper, I think.

jsmith4794430 karma

Yeah unless you a very experienced base jumper I'm pretty sure you'd break your legs or just smash into the ground and die.

Cosmolution60 karma

I am a wind turbine electrical engineer. What design changes would make your life easier?

jsmith4794444 karma

Give us more room to work! It's really not that bad though, once you learn where to put your body and what angles to get at things. More room =more money!

farofin039 karma

how much money do you make in this job? What is your aspirations in it? Do you intend to stay in the business?

jsmith4794440 karma

I can't state how much I make but they take very good care of me and it has amazing benefits. My aspiration is to stay here and grow and move up in tech levels and eventually become a site lead or manager. I love being in wind and find it very fun and rewarding. There is a lot of opportunity to grow and move up so I intend to take advantage of that!

slidesear27 karma

I heard that you have to come back down after moving up in your field.

jsmith4794420 karma

That's a good one :D

SenorSalsa33 karma

How did you get into this field? Do you like what you do? What makes a "good day" in your field? What makes for a particularly difficult day?

jsmith4794454 karma

We had a Wind farm put up in our county several years ago and I just applied and got a job offer and received training and learned everything on the job. I love doing what I do. I work with great people and have great benefits and am very fortunate. A good day is when we do an easy maintenance service or repair and no hiccups or bumps and everybody gets home safe. A bad day would be going up for something routine and when we get up there, there being a mess or a bunch of things that need replaced. I seems like if one thing is wrong up tower there's going to be a lot of things wrong and it just escalates and gets frustrating. But 8/10 times it's pretty routine and easy going with no major hickups.

Verat_Chaos9 karma

Are they looking for particular skills or trades or it is so unique that they give you in-house formation? Studying to be a millwright right now and I was thinking windmills could be a cool field to work in.

jsmith4794418 karma

Not really, just being mechanically inclined is a big part of it

ambientalk23 karma

Iowa?

jsmith4794429 karma

Indiana

Unabomber00713 karma

Around the Lafayette-ish area? I drove through the big ass field there....neat stuff.

jsmith4794416 karma

Yes 20 miles north of Lafayette!

Vaquera3 karma

I was going to say that looks a lot like Indiana! I lived in Lafayette for years. Now in California with a huge wind farm nearby.

jsmith479443 karma

I live 20 miles north of Lafayette! And we had our job training in San Diego!

SIXsteamyhippos21 karma

Oh no way man, same here! Actually I'm about to head down tower after a maintenance. Proof: http://imgur.com/VUsjZD9

jsmith4794412 karma

Nice! Be safe!

JeanEBraveaux20 karma

How fast can the blade tips go?

Cosmolution53 karma

I can give you an exact number. However, it depends on the turbine. Different turbines have different blade lengths depending on whether they're off-shore or on-shore. Also, the optimal rev/sec is different on different turbines. In other words, it depends.

To calculate, you need to know the diameter of the circle that's swept out during rotation. Let's say it's 108 meters. Now you need to know the circumference of that circle. Multiply by pi (3.14). This tells you how many meters the blade tip travels per revolution. In this case, it would be ~339.2m per revolution. Now, let's assume it's rotating at 15rpm. 339.2*15 = 5089m/min. This means that every minute the blade tip is travelling 5089 meters. So, you can convert to m/sec by dividing by 60 (60 seconds in one minute). You get 84.8 m/s. This is equivalent to about 189.7mph.

So, a 108m blade diameter traveling at 15 rpm will result in a blade tip traveling at almost 190mph.

jsmith4794424 karma

See, just need somebody a lot smarter than myself to answer that! Thanks!

jsmith4794432 karma

I can't give you an exact number off of my head but once they get past a certain speed they are slowed to maintain a speed so nothing overheats . There have been cases where this has failed and it actually can lead to the fire and destruction of the turbine

orlandodad10 karma

jsmith479449 karma

Exactly!

ImLookingatU9 karma

wouldnt it better to design them with a better cooling system so that energy output is higher when possible?

jsmith4794418 karma

There gets to a point though it's just to dangerous to have something that big moving that fast.

jsmith479449 karma

No, just like an engine, you don't want it going as fast as it can all the time. Something is eventually going to give out and break and on machinery this large that can be incredibly dangerous.

JeanEBraveaux20 karma

What are the most common problems with these things?

jsmith4794434 karma

Nothing too major generally. The majority of the work is cleaning and lubricating/greasing everything. A common one is replacing yaw motors which on our turbines are 6 motors that are used to adjust the directional rotation of the turbine. We replace a lot of pitch seals as well where the blades meet the hub on the front of the turbine. Other than that there's quite a bit of electrical like replacing capacitors and putting in new switches etc.

RufusMcCoot6 karma

Yaw motors? Why can't we just throw a rudder on the back and let the wind pivot it?

jsmith4794413 karma

Because you have to be able to move them with no win and my guess is they are too heavy

RufusMcCoot9 karma

Thanks. Why do you need to move them in no wind though?

jsmith4794413 karma

To do our services, we need blades to be in a certain position so we can climb down into them and the windmill facing a certain direction so we can use our tool hoist to bring our gear up.

cows_go_moo_18 karma

Seeing as you're an authorized rescuer, what have you rescued or heard about being rescued from a wind turbine?

jsmith4794434 karma

Luckily I have never had to be rescued nor rescue anybody and I don't know anybody who has either. And I pray I never have to use my training to perform a rescue. Even a fast rescue would take around 10 minutes and that is incredibly fast. 10 minutes is a long time for somebody to be bleeding out or not breathing. There have been cases and examples from other turbines where people have needed it. There is a somewhat famous picture of two technicians embracing on top of a turbine that caught fire. They could have rescued themselves but unfortunately they did not have their rescue equipment with them. And unfortunately one died from the fire trying to retrieve their gear and the other jumped. It's a pretty scary reminder to always be safe and never get complacent and to always think of the worse case scenario. At the end of the day I want my partner going home to his family just like I want to get home to mine.

sup12aman16 karma

How long does it take to climb to the top?

jsmith4794426 karma

We have service lifts in ours that take 8 minutes to get to the top. However if we do ever free climb it takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes usually. And that is A LOT of steps and climbing. However we do climb down which is pretty easy and takes at max 5 minutes

lofabread110 karma

Why don't you take the lifts back down? I'm imagining some kind of elevator, is that right?

jsmith4794417 karma

One guy usually does with some equiptment, but there are several decks and junction boxes that we have to clean off and inspect as part of our service as well as the ladder rungs and lights that need replaced, so we just do all of that on our way down.

charliegreen2 karma

Do you climb up the outside or through the support shaft?

jsmith479443 karma

We go up through the inside of the tower!

nauticalfiesta16 karma

Two questions:

First: Do you get frustrated when people call them windmills?

Secondly: What are your thoughts on those that dislike them for "medical reasons?" There was a lot of controversy about the "low-pitched noises" and flickering lights that caused people to have headaches. (Personally I have never heard this and the light issues seem to be blown out of proportion, no pun intended.)

jsmith4794413 karma

No not at all.

Honestly, we've had them in our community for almost 10 years and don't know of any real negative effects they've had that were found to be legitimate.

BigYellowDog14 karma

Have you ever ran into this guy?

http://imgur.com/Lqgtbcv

jsmith4794418 karma

I'm not hipster enough to know who that is :p

RomeNeverFell13 karma

Thanks a lot for doing this AMA!

Firstly, how much electricity can an average wind turbine provide with average winds? Like, how many people's demand can it suffice?

Second, how much does one cost?

EDIT: Words.

jsmith4794412 karma

I'm unsure specifically, but it produces quite a bit. We are a 600 MW site which is one of the largest in the Midwest

denim_vest10 karma

Many of the people in the rural area I live in believe that Wind Turbines can never actually be a financially sustainable energy resource, as the cost of maintenance and building them is more than they can produce. Is there any truth to that? Why or why not?

jsmith4794419 karma

It depends on where you are at. Where we are at in Indiana there is plenty of wind to be harnessed. the technology in building them has gotten so much better over the last 10 years, I honestly think they are a very viable source or renewable energy. However I'm not an expert I just work on them!

chedd3510 karma

What made you decide to get into this particular field of work?

jsmith4794414 karma

We had the farm installed in 2008 and I was always really intrigued by how the worked and thought it would be really fun. So I put in a resume and got an offer and started working on them!

fozzyfreakingbear9 karma

What was that process like? I had a friend recently look into it and said the training costs are high.

Also, what can I expect as a starting salary for this line of work?

jsmith4794414 karma

I put in my application, did an over the phone interview, and background check. Then did an in person interview and recieved my formal job offer, took a drug test and they flew us out to San Diego headquarters for safety training and orientation. I imagine it cost them a pretty penny to train us, but they want us well trained and to be a part of the company for a long time. I started at around $20 an hour with amazing benefits, it's a great job to have in my opinion.

PurplePlatypus9910 karma

Favourite pizza topping?

jsmith4794417 karma

Pepperoni and mushrooms with Frank's red hot

6969Thrownaway696911 karma

Is there anything Frank's red hot isn't good for?

iownalaptop52 karma

Lubricant.

jsmith4794416 karma

Unless she is into that sort of thing

PurplePlatypus999 karma

What is the likely hood of a head blowing off in a storm?

jsmith4794421 karma

The head? As in the very top part? I would say almost impossible. I've never seen or heard of it happening and more than likely if the wind is strong enough to do that it's going to rip the whole tower out of the ground before the top comes off. But that's also really unlikely. The amount of concrete at the base of towers and the size of the anchor bolts pretty much makes it a part of the earth.

Cosmolution4 karma

I think he's talking about the nacelle.

jsmith479446 karma

That's kind of what I had figured but wasn't sure!

YourEvilTwine9 karma

When windmill blades are locked so it can't turn and there is heavy wind, does this stress the windmill at all or does the wind just make its way around the blades without much issue?

jsmith4794413 karma

No, we pitch the blades to the point where the wind just goes around them while we service them.

CaptainGreezy9 karma

If a spinning blade were to snap off how far would it be thrown? Is such a failure possible?

jsmith4794417 karma

Probably not that far just due to the weight of it I've never heard of it and with the amount of bolts fasted to the hub it would be almost impossible I would think. Every other maintenance cycle we check torque on the major bolts with a hydraulic torque set that goes up to 10,000 psi so nothing is really ever going to loosen itself.

fraands7 karma

What is there to service and what is the routine maintenance?

jsmith479447 karma

Mostly just greasing, cleabing, lubing, and swapping filters. Pretty simple stuff there's just a lot of it! We do routine electrical work and systems checks but overall not a whole lot usually goes wrong with them.

MrMandelbrot5 karma

Hypothetically, if someone were to climb a wind turbine to access the outside hub and/or walk along the blade. What is the best way to not damage or disable any equipment and/or cause you guys a headache? What needs to be avoided?

I'm asking for a friend...

jsmith4794413 karma

Its mostly steel and fiberglass so odds are your friend isn't going to hurt anything. However I feel it is very important to tell your friend that it would be a major headache if anybody found out he did this or wanted to do it. We go through EXTENSIVE training to be qualified to work on these turbines. And make sure your friend asks himself if its really worth it. I've heard stories of people not being able to return home to their families because of a fall, and how sad and upset their families were that they never got to see them again. Personally I think it's incredibly irresponsible and selfish to take your life into your own hands. No matter how experienced you are, accidents can happen and there is no way you can control where or when.

MrMandelbrot4 karma

Thanks.

Is it true that if a plastic bag were placed over the anemometer, the blades would feather and stop?

jsmith479443 karma

No idea, never tried or heard of anybody doing it!

daedalusesq4 karma

Hi. I'm the mod over at /r/grid_ops. A rather small community of grid operators, generator operators, generator repair techs, and various power system engineers. We are trying to build a community of professionals who work on power systems around the world in various capacities so we can all learn more about the worlds largest interconnected machines. We would love if you came to join us.

On the question side of things, what is the installed capacity of your wind farm? Is the capacity generally pre-purchased or do you just sell into your market?

Also, do you know what region you fall under? My gut says MISO, but I'm not great at geography outside the northeast.

jsmith479444 karma

600 MW capacity and it's all prepurchased. And unfortunately I do not know what region.

jimmeofdoom4 karma

How often do turbines get struck by lightning? I was staying at a beach house near a turbine this summer and a storm came through that tagged it pretty well, it stopped spinning pretty quickly, but was back on the following day. I assume that's fairly routine maintenance or quick fix?

Also, I've seen driving around some turbines with what I can only describe as a "comb" feature on the trailing edge of the blade; small spikes maybe 6-8" long. What the heck is that for? (Static electricity dissipation is my best guess, but I really have no idea!)

jsmith479446 karma

Lightning strikes happen very frequently! However the towers are grounded and 9/10 times it bypasses them and doesn't do any damage. However occasionally we will have to replace a wire that got hot or something but nothing too major. And I'm not quite sure about those combs, we don't have anything like that on our turbines but I would say most likely you are correct about the static dissipation.

CMooreButtocks4 karma

Hello! Firstly, thanks for doing this! A lot of good knowledge about a not well known topic is getting out to a lot of people!

Secondly, my question! I just left the military (USN) in hopes of going to college to get the appropriate degrees/training to be a wind turbine technician. It's been my dream job now for the last 5 years! Any advice/tips/cheat codes you'd suggest I use on how to get exactly in your position?

Edit: Is it okay if I send you a PM with some extra questions?

jsmith479447 karma

Advice: Ask a lot of questions if you do get in! No questions is a stupid one! There are many colleges that offer wind programs, but there are also a lot of sites that do not require them or any previous training. Do some research before putting too much into a school and ask around. Definitely PM me any way I can help and I will do my best!

munnyfish4 karma

Has this or something similar ever happen to you?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbpRpJzZK7s

jsmith479444 karma

It has not.

kumquat_may4 karma

Any of your colleagues had to overcome a fear of heights, or is it screened as you apply for the job?

jsmith4794410 karma

Yes we had a guy here who was scared shitless of heights. Worked on site for about a year and to his last day was shaking to climb out of them. No idea how the hell he did it for so long.

StreetratMatt3 karma

When a turbine is installed, how long does it usually take for the propellers to get up to 'full speed'? I know it matters how fast the wind is blowing, I just can't imagine it's a quick process.

jsmith479444 karma

You'd be very surprised, as soon as we start pitching them they get moving pretty quick and up to speed in a couple of minutes.

Herlock3 karma

What's the most unlikely problem you discovered in a turbine ? Like birds having installed or some totaly random thing getting stuck in there ?

jsmith4794410 karma

Nothing really too crazy. Everything is sealed off really well, so nothing can really get into them. However we did have a guy take a shit in a rag bag and left it up tower for 6 months until our next service. That was a shitty day.

Big_Friggin_Al3 karma

As an authorized rescuer, can you briefly describe the methods used to rescue someone from a turbine (including yourself)? Is it cables, a parachute, helicopter evac... Have always been curious. Thanks!

jsmith479443 karma

If we were conscious and needed to get down tower without the assistance of others we can use our self rescue kit and rappel down. I've never had to rescue anybody but we have a very wide variety of devices at our disposal to get them down safely. It's all ropes and pulleys.

BlackSquirrel052 karma

Not sure if this got asked.

How did you get into it, what skills etc?

Hows the pay and growth potential?

jsmith479442 karma

I just applied to it. I have done a lot of maintenance work growing up and was a fabricator for several years so I think I am pretty mechanically inclined. The pay is awesome for where I'm at and the growth potential is as much as you want it to be. It's a field that's wide enough if you want to do something you can, and if you put in the work and effort it can be very rewarding.

redd49722 karma

Do you ever use drone technology to save time?

jsmith479442 karma

I don't but our management will use them for blade inspections.

Tjblackford2 karma

What's a Hoosier?

jsmith479445 karma

Somebody from Indiana!

scooterthetroll2 karma

Do you wear a parachute?

jsmith479442 karma

No, we have Self Rescue Bags (SRK-11) that we wear on our harness that we would use in an emergency if we need to descend down tower immediately.

Slazman9992 karma

What are your thoughts on these and do you think they will become widely used?

jsmith479442 karma

Never heard of them or seen them but a very cool idea! I can't tell you whether or not they will become widely used but I imagine it would be very hard to get to that point. The amount of money and time invested in the styles widely used now is insane, and they have become incredibly more efficient compared to when the technology first came out.

wh0ligan2 karma

What are the physical requirement required for your position? What kind of medical condition would disqualify you from employment?

jsmith479443 karma

As far as I know, none except that you have to weigh under 300 pounds. And as far as the medical condition, I don't think very many would prevent you. We have people who are diabetic and have allergies at work, you just make sure you know what to do if they were ever in a bad situation. We go through extensive safety training so most of the time anything that happens is managable and everybody knows how to respond.

SpaghettiMmm2 karma

Is there an elevator inside the wind turbine that takes you up? Or stairs?

jsmith479442 karma

We have service lifts (elevators in ours) as well as a ladder that we use to climb down. Other types have what is called Climb Assist which basically means they have to climb the ladder but have a device they can attach to the front of their harness that takes the majority of their weight off and allows them to kind of just tip toe up to the top.

Kmc29582 karma

How much money do you make?

That height makes my asshole pucker.

jsmith479443 karma

I make roughly $20 but am fairly new to the job. I know a lot of people with a little more experience that make $25-30 and the ability to make more. The benefits and insurance are amazing on top of the pay.

Chief_Economist1 karma

Do you pronounce it "tur-bin" or "tur-bine?" I've heard professionals pronounce it both ways.

jsmith479442 karma

I prefer tur-bin but know plenty of people who say it the other way!

Redmittor1 karma

Hey man, thanks for doing the AMA. Here are some of my questions

  1. Have you ever run into / dealt with people who claim that wind turbines make the landscape ugly? As I understand it, this is one of the impediments to their wide(r) scale adoption, or to urban adoption.

  2. Someone here asked about bird deaths and you mentioned that you'd found dead brown bats in the turbine (near the base of the tower at the bottom, or at the top?) How severe is this, and what d'you/the experts think is causing these deaths, and is it related to the turbine at all? Also, are there any measures you guys are taking to mitigate these effects?

  3. How's the general financial position of the company you work for? After accounting for setup costs and maintenance etc. A little of that should be reflected in the size of your pay packet, and your "irreplaceability" :P

What's the financial arrangement between generator and consumer of power? Does the government (state or federal) subsidise wind power? How scalable d'you think wind is?

  1. Does your company work with vertical windmills and micro-generation? Or have plans to? For the likes of urban, off-grid house installations...

jsmith479442 karma

  1. Yes I've heard people say that and that's their opinion. I for one think they look really neat. We are from a farm town so it's just flat and kind of nice to see something besides ground. And it's kind of cool when people ask where I'm from I mention the windmills and even if they are from a different state they know what I'm talking about.

  2. We found the bats at the base of the tower. I don't think it's too huge of a deal, we just record it and send it up the line but I'm fairly certain it's very miniscule to the natural population.

  3. I am fairly new to wind as well as the company I got hired into that's currently servicing our farm. But I'm pretty sure they are set financially for the future. They spent a lot of money to train me and the guys I got hired in and want us to be here for a long time. They hired a lot of us locally because they know it's a great opportunity and a great job for where we are from.

And we are contracted through Vestas currently for our maintenance and servicing cycles. I'm not quite sure how they have everything set up.

  1. As of now we don't and I don't think we have any plans to. We are pretty much going to be servicing the site for the remainder of their lives.

jjbmgm1 karma

What is your bosses education background? I want to work in renewable energy, but do not know what engineering degree if any in particular I'd need.

Thank you.

jsmith479441 karma

High school graduates, but they started a long time ago and moved up through the company.

Leff_hook1 karma

I see these often and wonder: how big are the propeller blades?

jsmith479442 karma

Our blades are roughly 30 metres I believe.

DirtFueler1 karma

[deleted]

jsmith479442 karma

The farm was built here in 2008 and I wanted to get in, and the site I just started at had an opening a few months ago so I applied and got the job!

nishma1 karma

why aren't there more blades on each turbine? would it increase its speed or not? you also wrote that engines slow it down at some point to guard the equipment but why is that? isn't the more speed the better and it would be better to get equipment which could handle the load?

jsmith479442 karma

To be honest, I don't know about why there are only 3 blades. I'm sure somebody somewhere a lot smarter than myself figured out that it's the most efficient way. And no more speed isn't always better, it can actually be quite dangerous. These are massive towers and parts moving at hot and fast rates, and at some point something is going to give eventually. It's the same way you don't drive a car at 8,000 RPM's constantly. Yes it may hold up for a while but it's going to wear incredibly fast and eventually something is going to blow up.

Dias_Flac1 karma

A few questions.

  • How heavy are the blades+Hub? I figure they can't be too heavy or the wind won't budge it, but too light and the blades will snap or they'll go too fast. I imagine the bearings supporting the shaft must be under intense stress.
  • Is the actual turbine inside the top or is there a reduction gear system involved that links to the bottom?
  • Does the entire windmill ever move from the strength of the wind pushing against the blades?
  • What's that bulge in your lower lip in your gallery? A dip?

jsmith479441 karma

A lot of the blades and parts of the hub are made of fiberglass so they are lighter, but still incredibly heavy, however the turbines are designed that not a whole lot of win (A couple meters a second) is needed to move them. The generator and gearbox is at the top in the nacelle (The big box type part you see at the top of the tower) and everything is fed down tower into AT boxes and sent into the power grid. And yes the turbines sway quit a bit, it's like being on a boat at sea. The more wind the more it moves! And yes haha it is

Chalupaburny1 karma

How many hours per week do you work? Is it typical Monday-Friday?

jsmith479441 karma

Yes mostly 40 hours with a little bit of overtime. We have on call shifts where two guys stay in case something goes down but our site isn't too crazy.

mikechi25011 karma

First thing i think of whenever i hear "wind turbine" https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1q0sca/last_week_two_engineers_died_when_the_windmill/

This is the most heartbreaking pic i have ever seen. Does something like this scare you?

echisholm3 karma

While I sympathize with the loss of life, I have a lot of contempt for them, since the only way they were put in that position was complacency and a complete disregard of safety procedures, which are drilled into every tech from day one.

See, there are multiple emergency egress kits that have to be available to the techs as they are in the nacelle. At least one multiple use unit is to be in the nacelle with them at all times, meaning that if they had it with them, they would have been perfectly capable of doing a set of self-rescues over the side.

We use this example as a means of emphasizing the idea that safety ALWAYS comes first. Nothing is more important: not time, not budget, not customer demands, NOTHING, and complacency ALWAYS kills eventually.

jsmith479441 karma

I agree completely. We have 3 forms of rescue we take up to use every day. The only reason they died is because of complacency and could have EASILY been prevented.

jsmith479443 karma

Yes it does it is incredibly scary and I think about that picture every day. That was the first thing they showed us in safety training. The thought that there is the possibility of not going home to my family at the end of the day makes me take extra caution to not be complacent or lazy and stay up to date on my training.

grapesause1 karma

Hey, so i am going to school in Lethbridge Alberta starting in January to become a wind turbine tech. Is there any words of advice you have on the program or after you graduate looking for a job?

jsmith479442 karma

I didn't go through school I went through on site training, but the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to ask questions. The only stupid question you will have is one you don't ask. There is still so much I don't know about the field I'm in, but I didn't know anything going in. Ask the people around you anything, they aren't going to think its dumb, they are going to think you want to learn and that's the way it should be. And please please please be safe. When you get a job you will see a lot of guys say you don't need to do this or that even though you were trained to. If you were trained to do something a certain way safe wise, that's because you are supposed to do it that way. People have died because they didn't pay attention to their safety training. Just make sure you are careful and safe so you can go home to your family!

TexasStarForever-2 karma

Ever pee or poop off it, like in this YouTube vid ? http://youtu.be/lcrfm_cufuc

jsmith479445 karma

Poop no I've heard stories of somebody going in a rag but never seen it lol. Pee yes we just radio down tower that it's about to rain.

ConservativeElite-4 karma

How many protected species of birds are killed in a day by the generators you work for?

Ever see blood on the blades?

jsmith479447 karma

What do you mean by generators? And as far as bird species none that I know of however we do find brown bats that we take pictures of and record data occasionally and send them to our management because they are nearing endangered I believe. And no I've never seen any blood or anything on the blades or the tower