MOOREFIELD — Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College has been giving the housing for a wind turbine to provide students hands-on training .

NextEra Energy Resources donated the equipment––known in the industry as a “nacelle.” The 31-ton piece of equipment was delivered on July.

Nacelles house all the components of a wind turbine.

Eastern plans to incorporate the device into its wind-energy turbine technology curriculum.

“NextEra is a leader in clean energy and supports Eastern’s wind-energy turbine technology program in a number of ways,” said Eric L. Putze, of the advanced technologies and wind technology faculty. “Many of our students have obtained internships or employment at NextEra and this donation will allow us to provide students with additional experience on campus that individuals previously would have needed internships to obtain.”

Eastern offers an associate in applied science, a certificate in applied science and a skill set program in wind energy turbine technology to help meet the growing demand for qualified technicians.

The program complies with American Wind Energy Association certification standards and students learn the skills necessary to service and troubleshoot modern wind-power-generation equipment anywhere in the world while acquiring the background and knowledge to advance their careers in the power generation field.

Eastern's curriculum provides instruction and practical application of a variety of technical concepts and practices, including those in electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical systems, computer control, data acquisition, periodic and predictive maintenance program usages.

“Wind energy technician is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States,” said Shanelle Wilson, NextEra Energy Resources project manager, “so the direct experience these students can receive from working with equipment will help them as they progress in their journey to becoming a wind technician.”

American wind power supports more than 100,000 jobs and the field is expected to grow exponentially, as the U.S. Department of Energy outlined a strategy that will produce 20 percent of U.S. power from wind energy alone by 2030.

NextEra is currently developing the Mount Storm wind project in Grant and Tucker counties. The project is expected to create an economic boost for the counties, including hundreds of construction jobs, as well as good-paying, full-time operations jobs. o

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