Last year, a Vestas V150 nacelle was damaged in transit prior to installation at the Invenergy-constructed Atchison Energy Center (300 MW, Wind, MO), the first Invenergy project in Missouri. The nacelle, which houses a turbine’s generating components, was unfortunately rendered unusable for operation, but Invenergy, Ameren, and Vestas partnered with to the nearby Tarkio Technology Institute to donate the nacelle. The technical institute was happy to take the decommissioned unit for use on their campus as a hands-on learning tool for students in the school’s wind technician program. 

The damaged nacelle

Located on the campus of Tarkio College in northwestern Missouri, the Tarkio Technical Institute offers wind energy coursework alongside plumbing, HVAC, welding, and computer information technology programs. Wind tech students will use the donated nacelle that is in original condition and weighs approximately 120 tons and includes the generator, gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly. The unit was delivered to Tarkio Tech’s campus in January and was dedicated at an official ceremony and ribbon cutting in late April.

Many schools have decommissioned equipment for students to train with, but that equipment tends to be outdated, says Senior Project Manager, Renewable Project Development Louis Feldman. This nacelle, on the other hand, is a brand-new model released in 2019 to the US that is going to be deployed to new wind sites for the next ten years. “It’s a very relevant piece of equipment that’s going to provide relevant experience to wind techs in training at Tarkio Tech,” he says.

Like many technical programs across the country, Tarkio Tech’s wind technician program provides basic teachings of wind energy technology and prepares students for entry-level wind tech positions. Programs like this equip students for work at projects like the Outlaw Wind Project, which bring well-paying and long-lasting jobs to American communities and provide revenue for schools, infrastructure, and other local needs.

As the nonpartisan energy organization E2 reports, clean energy remained the biggest job creator across America’s energy sector in 2021, employing nearly three times as many workers as fossil fuel extraction and generation trades. There are more clean energy jobs in the US than middle and elementary school teachers, bankers, farmers or real estate agents, and median wages for clean energy jobs higher than the national average. In fact, Feldman points out, Tarkio Tech’s wind tech students didn’t need to attend the school’s recent job fair – all already had wind tech jobs lined up before they graduated.

We all deserve to share in the benefits of clean, reliable energy, and Invenergy is proud to help students become the next generation of technicians, engineers, operators, and innovators building a sustainable world.

"This amazing donation illustrates the commitment that Invenergy has made to our young people and our community,” said Tarkio Tech’s President John Davis. The nacelle “provides Tarkio Tech’s wind students an opportunity to become familiar with the environment inside the nacelle long before their first day on the job.”