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Wind, energy technology programs to be offered by ISU College of Technology fall 2009

Posted June 30, 2009

The Idaho State University Energy Systems Technology and Education Center (ESTEC) is offering two new Associate of Applied Science degree programs this fall—Energy Systems Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) and Energy Systems Wind Engineering Technology (WET).

The Mechanical Engineering Technology program is a two year program that will train engineering technicians to work in the mechanical portions of a power plant. Technicians in this field of study will work on turbines, pumps, piping and valves in power systems that often produce more than 250,000 horsepower. Graduates can go to work in fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy sources such as hydro.

The Wind Engineering Technology program, also a two-year program, will train technicians to install, maintain, and service wind turbines. The Wind Engineering Technology program provides coursework in electrical and mechanical engineering as well as necessary training to climb towers safely and develop the specialized skills and training necessary for the growing wind industry.  Students in the WET program of study will learn on two turbines donated by G3, LLC who purchased the turbines from Lewandowski Farms. One turbine and tower will be used for training purposes; the other will be an operating turbine that will generate electricity near ISU.

ESTEC, a partnership between ISU, Idaho National Laboratory, and Partners for Prosperity, began teaching Energy Systems Instrumentation and Controls Technology in 2007. With $2.6M in grant funding from the Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation, ESTEC is training technicians in the energy field where graduates are in high demand. It is estimated that in the next 10 years, up to 50% of the current energy workforce will be eligible to retire. Between employee retirement and growth in electrical generation capacity, this translates into a huge demand for trained technicians in the energy workforce. These projections do not include the estimated 50,000+ wind technicians needed for developing wind energy projects if the U.S. is to meet the 20% Wind by 2030 goal of President Obama and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Graduates of the program have started their careers earning $50,000 and more with an Associate of Applied degree. For information about ESTEC and the two new program offerings or the existing programs of Energy Systems Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology and Energy Systems Electrical Engineering Technology visit our website at www.isu.edu/estec or call (208) 282-3085.