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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is wind energy technology?
A. Wind energy technology is the knowledge and understanding of the production of energy from wind.

Q. What instruction does the Wind Energy Technology program at Mesalands Community College provide?
A. The instruction in wind energy technology covers areas in turbine maintenance, tower safety, and wind economics. Course topics include studies in electricity, hydraulics, mechanics, and electronics. Safety procedures are covered in all areas.

Q. What is the timeline for receiving an Associate in Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology?
A. The program begins in August. The first year consists of a fall semester and spring semester. No wind energy courses are taught in the summer. The second year also consists of a fall and spring semester. Graduation is in May.

Q. Are the students allowed to climb the wind turbine?
A. Yes, all students are required to complete a Wind Turbine Climbing course each semester. This course allows students to gain real-world training experience. The College owns and operates a GE 1.5 megawatt ESS wind turbine. The turbine is located directly behind the North American Wind Research and Training Center and is fully operational and supplies power to the Wind Center.

Q. What did it cost to purchase and construct the wind turbine and Wind Center?
A. The wind turbine cost $4.1 million and the Wind Center cost $7 million. Funding came from state and federal grants for the turbine and a general obligation bond for the Wind Center.

Q. How big is the turbine?
A. The turbine is 400 feet tall when a blade is pointing straight up. The hub height is 253.6 feet tall. The blades are 121.4 feet long.

Q. How large is the North American Wind Research and Training Center?
A. The total square footage is approximately 26,000. There are three classrooms, four laboratories, and a lecture hall.

Q. What is the cost of the two year degree?
A. In state tuition and fees per semester is between $2,432.50- $3,493.50. Out of state tuition and fees per semester is between $2,987.50- $4,270.50.

Q. What type of protective equipment is needed for the program?
A. All students are required to wear safety-toed shoes, a hard hat, eye and hearing protection, gloves, long sleeve shirts and pants. Purchase of personal protective equipment is available in the College Bookstore, except for the safety-toed shoes.

Q. What kind of job and pay can I expect after graduation?
A. The wind energy industry is the fastest growing industry in the United States. Jobs range from operation and maintenance technician to salesman. Salaries range from $40,000 a year to six figures.

Q. Does Mesalands offer job placement or internship?
A. No. Recruiters contact the students with job/internship opportunities. Mesalands offers a resume/cover letter workshop, and industry job openings are posted on a bulletin board in the Wind Center.

Many students receive internships prior to graduation. Internships are typically undertaken during the summer months between the Freshman and Sophomore years. Internships assist students in obtaining a full-time career after graduation.

Our graduates have received jobs as commissioners, operation and maintenance technicians, traveling technicians, MET tower data collection representatives, and component salesmen. These jobs may include per diem, a company vehicle, traveling internationally, and full benefits.