The state of wind energy in lockdown.

With many of us in wind energy in lockdown this weeks post speculates on where we’re heading.

 

So what is the state of wind energy in lockdown? So let’s get this out of the way the wind is still blowing, turbines are still turning and I have to say that most people I’m speaking with are continuing to operate, albeit under strict distancing guidelines. Of course a lot of us are classed as essential workers so we’ve had to adapt quickly to this situation. For STL USA in particular this has meant moving courses to an onsite format where we can but of course not every customer has access to a turbine or tower to conduct a training course.

On this note I’d like to give a major shout out to the guys at Cotech who’ve let us use their training facility in Houston whilst ours is shut.

The GWO have played their part by quickly developing a new partial online course for Basic Safety training refreshers. This course allows for 100% delivery online over the space of a few days via a virtual classroom format. The course is built around interaction and requires both instructors and technicians to demonstrate a series of actions within the curriculum as well as theory elements to gain the 6 month interim accreditation.

This is an exciting development for STL USA as we’ve been eagerly awaiting the launch of an online, blended course format to broaden our course offering across the USA. We’ve also spent some of our lockdown time accelerating our plans to bring the GWO ART course to the USA. This is something we’re particularly keen to have sit alongside our standard GWO safety training courses.

Our wider outlook for wind is still very positive despite the current lockdown. Wind energy is proving itself to be a cost effective source of energy generation and with numerous new developments in the pipeline including the major offshore farms we still believe well end 2020 in an upbeat mood.

The second half of the year will see us looking further afield from our traditional mid-West base in the “wind corridor”. The next stage of our growth will be focussed on the offshore market, our longer term goal is to begin delivering GWO Sea Survival from a strategically located training center by the end of 2020. This is about 4-6 months behind our initial plan but hey Covid-19 came along so we hope you’ll forgive us.

All that’s left for us to do is say a big thank you to all our people who have worked tirelessly during this difficult time, for our clients patience and to the wider wind community for hanging in there.

 

If you’d like to talk about how we can support you GWO training get in touch.

 

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March news round up

Welcome to the March news round up.

I promised myself i would write this news round up without mentioning the C-word, but I don’t think that’s going to be possible. Covid-19 has dominated March and looks set to have an impact on the wind sector for the next few months. We are lucky as a business to be able to continue, albeit on a reduced basis, training during this crisis. We’ve taken significant steps to mitigate risks for our trainers and course attendees during the outbreak. This has meant the closure of our training facilities and a move to 100% onsite training until we feel we it is 100% safe to reopen the centers.

March started so differently

At the very start of March we were packing up after attending the AWEA O&M conference in San Diego. It was a great conference, we met up with clients and connected with new potential clients across the week. The weather was great and we had a small opportunity to enjoy some of the Southern California coastline. What a difference 30 days make! We moved quickly to ensure we could react to our client needs but most importantly to ensure the safety of our people and our attendees.

Moving onsite

The big story of the last 30 days has been our transition to 100% GWO onsite training. We regularly run training courses for customers at their wind farms but we’ve never had to run 100% of our courses in this fashion. The safety advantages are obvious, less interaction between people and less travel for course attendees. As training centers have closed across the country demand has grown exponentially. A big thank you to all the STL USA team for stepping up as in many cases we’ve been the last resort for clients.

Looking ahead

One thing is for certain this outbreak won’t last forever. When we come out of the back of this there will be a number of challenges that we will have to cover. Firstly there’s going to be a major backlog of refresher training that will need to be completed, second it’s likely there will be a rush of new hires. These will likely have been postponed during the lockdown. It’s going to mean a lot of training is required in a short space of time. To tackle this we’re working with all our customers to create a schedule for refreshers starting in May, we’re committed to running these back to back for as long as required so nobody’s certs lapse. It’s important we do this as lapsed certs require the tech to complete a full training course, keeping them out of the field for a full 5 days. We are working on a way for you to log your techs and their expiry dates into a schedule so we can then provide you training options, more to follow…

 

Stay Safe Everyone.

 

In the meantime if you want to add technicians to our refresher schedule you can get in touch below.

 

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What we’re discussing at AWEA O&M safety conference.

As we get closer to heading to San Diego for this year’s AWEA O&M safety conference we thought we highlight the key areas of focus for STL USA.

This year’s AWEA O&M safety conference will be a great opportunity to connect with our friends and colleagues across the industry, discuss the topics that really matter and work out how we can collectively solve these issues together. STL USA will be exhibiting on booth 314 come and find us.

For STL USA our focus this year is on a number of key areas including; developing offshore capability, launching Basic Technical Training and working with the labour supply chain to ease the bottleneck of trained technicians entering wind.

 

Offshore safety training, GWO Sea Survival.

With significant developments taking place on both the East and West coast, including the Ocean Wind site, demand for offshore technicians has never been higher. This puts huge pressure on the need for GWO Sea Survival courses, located within a sensible travelling distance of the fields. Currently the market is very thin. Offshore facilities have historically been centred around the Oil and Gas sector, located around the Gulf of Mexico but this needs to change given winds development on the East and West coast. To this end STL USA are actively seeking out sites to ensure we can meet this demand from the growing sector.

 

Developing Technical training, GWO Basic Technical Training

We believe that 2020 will see increasing importance placed on the need for technical training in the wind sector. As demand continues to grow for trained individuals only so much can be serviced from techs moving across sectors, in-house training and labour movement. We believe that 2020 will be the year where BTT becomes a key access point for people wanted to work in wind, whether high school or college leavers or those transitioning from unrelated areas. Ensuring a consistent flow of manpower is going to be crucial and we’re lucky that this is also recognised by our partners at Texas State Technical College.

 

How can we move people into wind energy faster?

Recent conversations with partners and clients have led us to explore the manpower problem from all angles in recent months. We clearly have an issue in the sector, there’s not enough technicians and not really enough places to train them. These are classic teething problems of a fast growing sector and something we’re keen to address. Ideas we’ve explored include a credit based system for experienced workers at height to gain credits on GWO course for existing qualifications, a transition path covering technical course modules and safety. We haven’t got a definitive answer to this question, what we do know is that we will need to come together as a sector to address this issue. New course formats and markeing criteria will need to be developed, tested and rolled out. AWEA O&M safety conference is a perfect place to do this, we look forward to speaking with you there.

 

AWEA O&M safety conference will be busy, the best way to ensure a conversation with STL USA is to book a meeting slot. Just click the link below.

 

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Why get the STL USA newsletter

Apart from the wit and imaginative writing there’s a bunch of reasons to get the STL USA newsletter!

 

So why should you get the STL USA newsletter? We’ll we bring you the lowdown on some of the best news in wind energy safety, the latest developments at STL USA and so much more.

Be the first to hear about course dates and availability

GWO training is becoming increasingly popular in the USA and with limited providers it pays to know when and where you can train. After all taking technicians out of the field costs money, STL USA strive to make the process simple and painless to minimise the impact to your bottom line, ensuring your workforce is fully qualified to the GWO Basic Safety training standard.

Get updates on offers and funding opportunities for training courses

We regular run promotions on our courses and make available funding via our regional and state partners. Funding goes fast, grab the newsletter to be kept up to date on opportunities. For example a client recently had 90% of their course fee’s paid via a state funding program in Texas. Can you afford not to benefit from this?

 

Sign-Up and Don’t Miss Out

 

 

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American Wind Week

This week is American Wind Week, an opportunity to celebrate wind energy and demonstrate how wind energy works for all Americans.

The AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) hosted the inaugural “American Wind Week” in 2017 in celebration of wind power emerging as America’s No. 1 source of renewable energy. This quickly became an annual event where wind companies and supporters host a wide variety of events around the country to show how wind works for all Americans.

Each year in August, elected officials will visit wind farms and factories across the country to show their support. It’s an initiative that STL USA is 100% behind without a wind industry we wouldn’t have anyone to provide GWO training to!

 

Some of the great stories from American Wind Week

New York celebrates Wind Week

 

 

New jobs encourage young New Mexicans to stay in the state

 

There’s a ton of news over on the AWEA’s news feed just follow the link here.

 

The key themes of American Wind Week 2019

Each day through wind week we’ve been focusing on a different aspect of wind energy. We’ve covered wind’s contribution to rural communities, job creation, jobs for ex service men and woman and the reduction in carbon emissions. Head over to our social to see more.

Wind week is a brilliant initiative by the AWEA and we hope to be a part of it for years to come.

 

2019 Wind Energy review, so far..

2019 has already been a huge year for wind energy so we thought we’d look back on some of the big developments so far and those still to come.

2019 has gone so quickly, with so many major developments taking place it feels like we’ve had a full year already and it’s only July! This week’s blog looks at the major sector developments and looks ahead to what’s to come in the sector for the rest of the year. As a GWO trainer we’re well placed to see what is really happening in the sector from an infrastructure and employment perspective and one thing is for certain that wind energy continues to grow, fast.

2019 a year for firsts

Wind energy generated more electricity than coal for the first time this year. April saw wind surpass coal for the first time ever and indications suggest that this will only accelerate the decline in the coal industry. As it becomes ever cheaper to generate power via renewables less profitable fossil fuels are surely on the way out. Much of this demand has been driven by states, cities and corporations commiting to clean energy despite the national backdrop.

New projects show no sign of slowing

Big wind farm news has been coming through at regular intervals. So far this year we have seen the Vinyard offshore farm, Ocean wind off the coast of Atlantic City and two major projects off the Long Island coast announced. This comes against a backdrop of numerous new onshore farms being awarded contracts. The sector is moving fast as the USA catches up with the rest of the world.

Corporates and cities leading the way

Major cities like Dallas and Chicago have made bold commitments to renewable energy. In both cases they have set targets to use 100% clean energy. Despite a national backdrop at odds with renewable energy these are just two examples of cities, states and municipalities taking action into their own hands where energy is concerned.

Corporates are also doing their bit. There is a clear drive towards clean energy as corporates look to secure their energy needs now and in the future. Well known organisations like Facebook have made a clear commitment to wind energy creating hundreds of jobs in the process with other well know organisations following such as AT&T and Google. These companies have set impressive targets and on the face of it it’s great PR but there’s more to it than that. These companies know that renewable costs are steadily reducing vs. increasingly expensive fossil fules. They also know companies who take an active role in managing their energy efficiency perform better over the long term.

STL USA’s year so far

It’s been a super busy year so far at STL USA. 2019 is on course to be a record year for students trained and accredited with GWO qualifications. We’ve attended some great industry events particularly AWEA’s conference in San Diego and we hope to make more friends in the industry over the next months and years.

What’s in store at STL USA

The rest of 2019 is about cementing STL USA’s place as the leading provider of GWO training solutions in the USA. We’re actively recruiting for new trainers and we hope to have secured an additional world class training facility by year end.

 

 

STL USA are taking course bookings for August & September GWO training, click below to find out more

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Why a career in wind energy could be a smart move?

It’s hard to avoid the constant good news stories in wind energy. This week we look at why a career in wind energy could be a smart move.

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the USA. Wind energy output recently surpassed coal in the USA and the jobs market is booming. Renewables jobs also come with high wages. Virtually all wind farms and turbine operators are GWO members and we see first hand from demand for our GWO training courses that the sector is growing fast. Creating stable and high-wage employment for blue-collar workers in some of the country’s most fossil fuel-heavy states, just as the coal industry is poised for another downturn.

Simple economics are are driving both sides of this equation:

Building new sources of renewable energy is cheaper than running existing coal plants and prices get cheaper every year. By 2025, virtually every existing coal plant in the US will cost more to operate and run than building replacement wind and solar within 35 miles of each plant.

On the demand side states are pushing hard to set 100% clean energy goals, creating new demand for workers to build wind turbines and other renewable sources. Planning for the inevitable shift from coal-to-clean is creating economic opportunities in every corner of the country – and some forward-thinking policymakers are already heeding this lesson.

Fast-growing renewable energy jobs offer higher wages

The renewable energy sector has become a major U.S. employer. E2’s recent Clean Jobs America report found nearly 3.3 million Americans working in clean energy – outnumbering fossil fuel workers by 3-to-1. 111,000 work in the wind industry with triple that in solar, compared to 211,000 working in coal mining or other fossil fuel extraction. Renewable energy employment grew 3.6% in 2018, adding 110,000 net new jobs (4.2% of all jobs added nationally in 2018), and employers expect 6% job growth in 2019.

E2 reports the fastest-growing jobs across 12 states were in clean energy during 2018, and renewable energy is already the fastest-growing source of new U.S. electricity generation, leading the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to forecast America’s two fastest-growing jobs through 2026 will be solar installer (105% growth) and wind technician (96% growth).

Green jobs grow in red states

But the best aspect of renewable energy job growth is that it doesn’t matter how states voted in the last election. The American Wind Energy Association identifies wind farms and manufacturing facilities in all 50 states and 69% of congressional districts (78% of GOP districts, 62% of Democratic districts) paying more than $1 billion in state/local taxes and landowner leases, and supporting 24,000 manufacturing or supply chain jobs across 42 states.

The future’s looking bright

Fundamentally the future is certain. At least certain in the fact that fossil fuels will run out over time and will become increasingly expensive as we head towards that point. The simple economics are already pushing in favour of renewables and the reality is that this will be the key driver of growth. Texas is a great example of this, the quintessential oil state is now a leader in wind energy. Regardless of political views money talks and the Texans are a smart bunch they go where the profits are.

So who are we to argue, of course we have a vested interest but all things considered a career in wind energy is a smart move.

 

STL USA are currently recruiting for new Course Instructors, click the link below to view the job spec.

 

May wind energy round up

May has been a great month for renewable energy and wind energy in particular. This week we look at the best stories in the sector.

Our May wind energy news round up covers the best stories from around the sector. With so much going on in wind energy and renewables we filter out the noise and bring you the big stories. As well as great news from US cities such as Dallas and Chicago, wind energy surpassed coal for output and we take a look at the GWO accreditations.

 

Dallas signs major renewable energy contract.

The City of Dallas has entered into a major contract with TXU Energy. The city will draw power initially from the Foard City Wind Farm in west Texas. This new contract should pave the way for major reductions in energy costs, as much as $80 million over the next 10 years according to the city administrators. This is another great example of a US city taking the initiative and moving to more sustainable energy sources to secure the future energy needs of the local administration.

 

Renewable energy tops coal energy production for the first time.

Although this story broke at the end of April we felt it was so important that we had to feature it! For the first time ever in April and also hopefully for May renewable energy sources generated more energy than coal. This is highly significant because despite a backdrop of reduced federal subsidies the renewable sector continues to grow apace. This demonstrates a huge surge it renewable output. As little as five years ago this simply wouldn’t be possible and with more onshore and offshore projects in the pipeline renewable energy capacity is on the increase.

 

Chicago follow suit and commits to 100% clean energy.

Much like Dallas and other US cities before it Chicago has committed to 100% clean energy. By 2035 they want every building to run on renewable energy and by 2040 they want the entire bus service to be electric. Chicago’s home state Illinois is aiming for a carbon-free power sector by 2030. This equates to over 2,500 new wind turbines scheduled to be built in the coming years. This shouldn’t pose a problem for Chicago after all it is the windy city. Like Dallas it’s hugely encouraging to see this and for a city to be setting such ambitious targets. Let’s hope we see even more US cities follow suit.

 

Getting inside the GWO accreditations.

We take a look at the main GWO accreditations. Basic Safety Training and Basic Technical Training. Each is made up of a series of specialist modules which combined make up the two cornerstones of GWO training. In our latest insight into the training standards we take you through the main points and what you should expect from a training course.

Read More

 

Next month we’ll be bringin you all the best news and more information on GWO training. If you need to know more now then get in touch as we’d love to help.

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The state of Wind Energy in the USA

As the sector continues to grow we thought it was a great opportunity to look at the state of Wind energy in the USA this year and what lies ahead.

Wind Energy has had a lot of press coverage recently, not everything that has been said is great for the sector. However most of what has come out from certain people is in stark contrast to the actual facts! With this in mind we thought it was a great opportunity to look at the state of Wind Energy in the USA and what lies ahead in 2019 and beyond.

 

Offshore Wind Energy takes off

A recent white paper by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW) indicates that off shore wind will generate in excess of 20 Gigawatts of cost efficient power from 2030. Alongside nearly $70 billion in revenue opportunities for US companies in the supply chain. With 3 operational sites and a further in development it’s not just revenue that will be created for US companies but jobs for US workers. Wind Energy is already one of the fastest growing jobs markets in the USA and this is set to continue as demand increases for cleaner energy with wind well placed to deliver.

 

Corporate wind deals benefit the wider community

As companies look to secure their energy needs for now and the future there is a clear drive towards renewable energy sources as opposed to traditional power generation methods. The deals have far reaching benefits for the communities and workers who support the wind energy sector. Well known organisations like Facebook have made a clear commitment to wind energy creating hundreds of jobs in the process with other well know organisations following such as AT&T and Google. These forward thinking companies have set themselves impressive targets, in Facebooks respect to use 100% renewable energy by 2050. On the face of it these deals may be perceived as good PR but there’s underlying sentiment regarding companies with forward thinking energy and sustainability policies, they perform better. Which all ads up to good news for wind.

 

The jobs market

As a sector renewable energy employs over 750,000 people in the USA. Compare this to coal with 160,000 employees and it’s clear where the smart money is these days.Wind energy has seen double digit job creation for the last few years and as new wind farm developments get green lighted driven by demand from both private and corporate America this is unlikely to slow. From STL’s perspective we have seen a dramatic increase in GWO training enquiries as technicians strive to gain the qualifications needed for a successful career in wind energy.

 

Where is wind going?

The short answer, despite what you might here, is nowhere. The sector is enjoying amazing growth despite shifting national energy policy. Cities and States continue to push towards their greener energy targets in spite of what the national executive is focussing on. Corporate America is also playing it’s role. Large companies continue to favour wind as they aim to shift their usage from traditional supply methods to sustainable sources. All in all it’s an exciting time to be working in Wind Energy.

 

 

The wind energy boom.

2019 looks set to be a big year for wind energy across the USA, we look at some of the stats and factors driving this growth.

 

In the 10 years to 2019 the cumulative capacity of wind energy has tripled to over 90,000 MW. Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 people employed in the wind energy sector. In 2017 four states produced more than 30% of their electricity from wind. Over $145 Billion has been invested in wind in the USA over the last 10 years. From our own perspective we’re seeing a huge increase in demand for our GWO training courses within a sector committed to employee safety.

 

With figures like these it’s no wonder the sector is booming and all this despite a national backdrop that is removing the nation from the Paris climate accords and trying to revive the failing coal industry. Whilst the investment numbers are staggering the drive to renewables could be seen as somewhat of a grass roots initiative. Despite the national agenda cities are pushing to be 100% renewable by 2035, we covered this last December when we focused on Cincinnati becoming the 100th city to commit to decarbonization.

 

This month we see the AWEA’s San Diego conference where the industry comes together to discuss and solve the issues that we face, not least due to the fast growth we are experiencing. It’s good to see that the industry is so committed to safety with GWO accreditations now being mandatory for wind turbine workers. The corporate sector is also doing it’s bit. It’s become common place to hear of large corporations like Facebook, WalMart and AT&T commit to wind energy for their electricity needs. It seems the people on the ground and in our corporations believe in wind energy as the solution to their long term sustainability plans which is great news all round.

 

In fact we are seeing somewhat of a snowball effect. Whether this is driven by need, necessity or great PR mileage it all signals a sector where wind turbine technician jobs are now one of the two fastest growing jobs in the USA. What’s also hugely encouraging are the large numbers of veterans who work within the wind sector. STL has a long history of working with veterans once they have finished serving their country, the skills they learn in the military translate perfectly to the wind sector which is why veterans are employed at a rate 72% above the national average.

 

To discover more about STL head over to the homepage and find out more about our world class training facilities and courses.

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