The way of the future - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

The way of the future


Austin, MN (KTTC-TV) -- An Energy Department report has found that wind turbines might produce up to a fifth of the nation's electricity in just two decades and now Riverland Community College wants to be a part of that future by implimenting a wind turbine technician program.

Wind is the way of the future, at least that's according to the Energy Department who found that by 2030 wind energy could account for at least twenty percent of the total electricity generated in the United States, but this booming industry is lacking enough people to keep it moving.

Darryl Stacey says, "Hiring proper technicians is a big issue, being properly trained in electrical, mechanical and hydrolics."

Darryl Stacey is a Mcneilus wind turbine technician who sees the industry growing first hand. Now Riverland Community College officials hope to carry more people into the industry.

Steve Bowron says, "Southeast Minnesota is actually one of the strongest areas in the country for wind traffic it really has become a real commodity for the wind technology industry just because of that natural wind that we have in this area."

Bowron says Riverland is one of six schools statewide to recieve a nearly $49,000 grant to develop a wind turbine technician program to address the growing demand for qualified personnal.

Steve Bowron says, "I think this is just an exciting time for our region, this is an exciting time for the college to get be able to connect with our local industry and truly be responsive to a need that's been identified."

Today there are 160 wind turbines in Southeastern Minnesota and in just two years that number is expected to jump to 1,000.

Minnesota is one of six states leading the way in wind energy and now Riverland Community College hopes to be a part of that future tying education to industry.

Numerous schools and industries are partnering with Riverland Community College to plan, develop and implement the academic program.

Riverland hopes to have the program up and running by Fall 2009.

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