Wits
Featured image: Stock

Castrol, a provider of lubricants to the wind energy industry, has announced the launch of the Castrol Wind Academy to address the critical skills shortage in the wind sector.

The UK-based firm said in a statement that the academy is a multi-channel training programme designed to up-skill wind energy operations and maintenance (O&M) technician teams with the latest insights, technologies, processes and examples of how best practices in O&M can improve operational efficiency, equipment life and profitability.  

Read more:
City of Cape Town supports training for solar PV installers

Maintenance teams are increasingly faced with a confluence of challenges in the industry; the reduction of subsidies, the end of warranties, and the development of new technologies. It is more critical than ever for technicians to keep their skills up to date in order to preserve wind farm competitiveness and profitability.

As it stands, 78% of wind energy stakeholders stated that finding suitably trained staff was either ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.

[1] Workers wanted: The EU wind energy sector skills gap, European Wind Energy Technology Platform.

With continuous pressure to reduce Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE), operations technicians and site managers are expected to simultaneously improve efficiencies and maintain up-time in wind turbine operations. 

However, the rapid growth of the wind industry means there is a growing skills gap, with the need for technicians and site managers in wind operations set to triple in the next three to four years. 1

“Operations technicians and site managers are at the heart of the wind energy industry," said S Ramchander, chief marketing officer and global VP of marketing at Castrol & BP Lubricants.

“It is important that they are up-skilled and trained to implement best practice operations on site as conditions in the market are intensified over the coming years.

“The Castrol Wind Academy has been launched in response to the core challenges being faced in the industry and to directly address wind energy’s skills shortage,” continued Ramchander. “The Academy aims to empower operations teams to effectively support the growth of the industry through education, certification and best practice.”

Aimed at technicians with five years’ experience or less, the Academy is a capability-building programme for technicians and site managers. It is made up of online programmes, seminars, webinars and face to face training sessions. 

The course consists of three stages, the first of which is an online training course to educate technicians on Wind O&M basics, from gearbox and drive train technologies to predictive maintenance. The second stage sees advanced topics taught via a virtual class and the third, an in-person training session on site.

Stage 1 and 2 can be completed at a time that suits the technician, to ensure a convenient learning experience. On completion of the course, technicians will be awarded a certification by the Castrol Wind Academy. 

Charudatta Joshi, the global marketing officer development manager at Castrol Lubricants, said, “The Castrol Wind Academy pilot course was very successful and, building on a collaborative development process, we are now looking forward to welcoming our first intake of technician teams into the Academy course.”