Defining Wind Energy Experience

Corrie Christol, Chloe Constant, Jeremy Stefek

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Since 2015, the U.S. wind installed capacity has grown from 73 to over 120 gigawatts, creating jobs across many sectors and educational levels. The growth of the wind workforce will need to continue to meet the goal of 20% wind by 2030, as well as the Biden administration's goals to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, reach 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035, and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. Despite the needed and anticipated growth, there are challenges to meeting this demand. Research has consistently shown that it has been a challenge finding qualified applicants for open wind industry jobs. Between 2012 and 2018, the difficulty of finding qualified applicants increased from 62% to 68% according to industry respondents. In 2017, educational institutions and training programs reported that 67% of their students did not enter the wind energy industry. Research conducted in 2020 showed that 83% of interested workers had some or great difficulty finding job opportunities. In exploring reasons for this gap, the researchers found that challenges were primarily influenced by education, experience, and geography. This difficulty for wind industry employers, educational institutions, and the potential workforce is known as the "wind energy workforce gap." This report further investigates the experience aspect of this gap.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-82878


  • wind energy
  • wind industry
  • workforce


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