Wherever the Wind Blows You: Becoming a Wind Development Director

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The Wind Development Director plays a crucial role in the success of any renewable energy company.  You can't just plunk down a wind farm anywhere and expect it to be efficient and profitable.  The Wind Development Director is the one who selects an area for a wind farm, and then oversees its development from empty countryside into a green energy powerhouse.



istock_000009458693smallresizedA Wind Development Director is part scientist, part meteorologist, and part businessman.  A lot of different factors go into selecting a site for a wind farm-more than you might realize.


First, obviously, there is the wind.  A Wind Development Director needs to understand the science and physics behind wind and weather patterns.  They must select a place that gets strong, steady wind most of the year.  Obviously, too little wind at any time of the year is bad, but too much wind (especially in the winter) is just as bad.  Wind turbines are big, expensive structures, and many have had vanes broken off by gale- or hurricane-force winds.  Until that turbine gets repaired (which can take days, weeks, or even months), it generates no power.


Other environmental factors come into play.  Unfortunately, flat wide open spaces lend themselves to marshes and swampland.  Such terrain is not a good place to build multi-ton wind turbines upon, at least not without significant (and expensive) reinforcement.


There are a host of economic and legal concerns a Wind Development Director must juggle as well.  The different laws of countries, states, counties, and localities have to be taken into account.  Zoning restrictions, taxes, regulations, and green energy subsidies are just a few examples.  Once a Wind Development Director has finally selected a good location for a wind farm, there's the problem that the land almost certainly belongs to someone else.  Business negotiations become crucial here.  More than a few perfect wind farm locations have become unavailable by a farmer or rancher who refuses to sell the land, or asks too high a price.


Requirements for Becoming a Wind Development Directoristock_000009741614smallresized


As with many green collar jobs, being a Wind Development Director requires two different types of training that are not often found together in the same individual.  In the case of Wind Development Directors, it is the fusion of an advanced understanding of weather patterns combined with wide-ranging business skills.


For this reason, Wind Development Directors are often made, not found.  They tend to be either scientists who have learned a lot about business, or businessmen who have learned a lot about weather due to long experience in the wind power market.


To be considered for a Wind Development Director position, you would need at least a Bachelors degree in Meteorology or Earth Science, or in business administration.  A Graduate degree or MBA would give you an edge over the competition.  The ideal combination would be to major in one area and minor in the other.


If you are a graduate of a business program, take classes on the physics of weather.  You'll most commonly find these in Earth Science programs, or possibly Geology.  If you already have a degree in the sciences, consider getting a MBA as well.  Alternatively, you could gain your business experience on the job, although this may take you considerably longer to qualify for a Wind Development Director position.



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