National rhetoric pits solar and coal against each other. But in Delta County, Colo., one organization is targeting unemployed coal miners in the hope of transitioning them into the solar industry — and leaving politics out of the conversation.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks wind turbine technician as the country’s fastest growing profession. These technicians scale the tall white towers in hard hats and climbing gear, making sure those power-generating blades are spinning just right.
Colorado wind power is rising with 1,880 huge turbines erected across the prairie, twisting white blades as long as soccer fields, a cleaner source of energy replacing fossil fuels. It has reached the point where the wind turbines generated 67 percent of Xcel Energy’s Colorado-made electricity one morning in November and 54 percent for two 24-hour periods in October — feats unmatched around the nation, industry officials said Tuesday. Falling costs, a state mandate, a federal subsidy and sheer momentum are driving the shift to renewable energy.