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How Do Wind Turbines Work?

Apr 10, 2023 ·

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Wind turbines appear majestic in motion.

So, how do wind turbines work? What do wind turbines do? What goes into wind power generation?

For aspiring wind turbine technicians, knowing these answers is vital and can help them gain a better understanding of careers they might pursue in the wind industry.1

If you want to develop an industry-standard skillset to service and install wind turbine technology, consider enrolling in Universal Technical Institute's (UTI) 30-week Wind Turbine Technician Training program, which will be offered at our Rancho Cucamonga and Lisle campuses (pending regulatory approvals). Graduates of our wind turbine technician school can pursue entry-level positions in the industry.

Keep reading to learn more! This guide will help you understand how wind turbines operate, what they’re used for and why this technology is so important.

What Is a Wind Turbine?

A wind turbine converts wind into electricity. The wind propels the turbine blades to rotate, and this rotation then powers the turbine's generator, which generates electricity.

What Is Wind Energy Used For?

Wind turbines are typically found in wind farms, where many wind turbines are linked together and fed into an electricity grid. Energy from wind can then be used to fuel homes, large buildings and even entire zip codes.

Land-Based Wind

Land-based wind turbines are typically used to generate large amounts of commercial electricity. These turbines are installed on structures built over open land, such as farmer's fields or hillsides and take a lot of space to set up. Wind-generated electricity then travels through the electrical grid to power nearby homes and businesses.

Offshore Wind

Offshore wind turbines operate in the same way as onshore wind turbines but are located in bodies of water such as oceans. They have larger rotors than land-based counterparts to fully utilize the relative higher speed of wind over water, making them more powerful electricity producers. Offshore wind farms are also more expensive to build and require specialized installation equipment due to their remote location and high operational capacity.

Distributed Wind

Distributed wind turbines generate electricity on a smaller scale and are frequently located near the end user's home or business, eliminating or reducing the need for transmission lines and their associated costs. These turbines are especially useful in remote areas with otherwise limited or nonexistent access to electricity.

How Do Wind Turbines Work?

Wind power generation is proportional to the speed of the wind that propels the blades. With these four main components working together, wind turbines can generate renewable electricity from wind energy:

  • Rotor: responsible for using aerodynamic lift to capture the wind energy and convert it into rotational energy to spin the blades
  • Blades: designed for minimal air resistance to capture wind energy through aerodynamic lift more efficiently
  • Nacelle: enclosure for the turbine's main components located at the top of the wind turbine containing its main components such as the gearbox, generator and brake system
  • Tower: helps support the weight of all components and provides stability in windy conditions

Wind Energy Technicians

Wind turbine technicians are responsible for the efficient and safe operation of wind turbines. They often perform inspections, troubleshoot technical issues, perform repairs and maintenance and monitor performance metrics, as well as install new equipment or upgrade existing systems.

These technicians must also effectively communicate the technicalities of any relevant project updates to customers and teammates. This way, everyone involved in the success of these projects knows exactly what is required and whether any issues will impede their progress.

Technician Traits

When reading and interpreting technical diagrams, wind turbine technicians must be precise and use math and science reasoning skills. They must be able to effectively solve problems, which can help them diagnose and repair system errors.

Because they work with intricate machinery, wind turbine technicians must also be well-versed in their industry's technology and have up-to-date computer skills. When interacting with others, effective communication is essential, whether they’re providing detailed technical instructions to teammates or speaking to customers regarding the service being performed.

Technicians operating on wind turbines must also use tools and hoist heavy pieces of equipment onto turbines. Doing so is much easier with manual dexterity and physical strength. Last but certainly not least, technicians must have enough technical knowledge and aptitude to perform their responsibilities correctly.

Technical Training

Wind turbine technicians can complete their tasks successfully with technical training and a solid understanding of safety protocols. Technical training consists of wind turbine technician courses that teach the skills needed to diagnose malfunctions in wind turbine systems, troubleshoot solutions and understand electrical diagrams.

This type of training is available through UTI’s 30-Week Wind Turbine Technician training program, coming to participating trade school locations! Students at these campuses can gain hands-on experience with wind technology in controlled classroom and lab settings.

Our blended learning format can help students build a technical foundation that will allow them to pursue career opportunities in the wind technology industry after graduation. Graduates can even reach out to UTI's Career Services team to learn more about industry job opportunities and get assistance with their applications!

Working Conditions

Wind turbine technicians typically work outdoors, increasing their exposure to severe weather whenever it occurs. They often have to maneuver up tall towers or through tight spaces inside large turbines and could be expected to repair blades or machinery from hundreds of feet in the air.

Employers may require wind turbine technicians to permanently relocate to the worksite, which could be in remote and isolated areas. They must also work with potentially hazardous materials, so safety is critical. Certain employers may require wind technician safety credentials from their employees to ensure that the worksite complies with local safety regulations.

Fortunately, they frequently work in groups. So, if you get an entry-level wind turbine technician job, you could be surrounded by teammates who have your back.1 To make the most of this camaraderie, communication and teamwork skills are required!

Read: What is a Field Service Technician?

Industry Prospects

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for wind power technicians in the United States was $57,320 in May 2022.61 This means half earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Most of our grads start out working as entry-level technicians or in other entry-level roles. As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with hard work. Some entry-level and advanced careers for our wind technician programs could include:77

Entry level:

  • Wind turbine technician
  • Installation technician
  • Field service technician


  • Troubleshooting technician
  • LOTO I & II specialist
  • Wind farm support specialist
  • Research and development
  • Electrical engineer

Read: How to Become a Wind Turbine Technician

Want to Pursue a Career in Wind?

Wind turbines are powerful producers of renewable electricity, so it's no surprise that aspiring technicians like you want to be a part of its advancement!

Our Wind Turbine Technician training program can teach you the technical skills required to pursue a career in wind turbine technology. From power generation to installation, maintenance and repair, you can learn how to successfully service wind turbines!

Want to learn more? Request more information about wind turbine training today or apply for wind technician training to get started!

With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

61) The Wind Technician Training Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as wind power technicians. Estimated annual salary is for Wind Turbine Service Technicians as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for graduates. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary. Graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as wind power technicians, such as installation technicians and field service technicians. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is available at Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled wind turbine technicians in North Carolina is $31.67 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Wind Turbine Service Technicians). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $30.52 and $30.43, respectively.

77) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI prepares graduates for entry-level careers using the provided training. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than those listed.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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