Noah Zirbel grew up with wind turbines in his back yard. His parents hosted the first two utility scale wind turbines in the state on their farm south of Green Bay.
“I was intrigued,” he said of the giant towers. “I always thought I would take over the farm, but wind energy really caught my interest.”
After high school, Noah enrolled in the Wind Energy Technology associate degree program at Lakeshore Technical College. He graduated in 2009 with the first class in the program. After an internship with Invenergy, North America’s largest independent wind power generation company, Noah took a job troubleshooting, repairing and maintaining wind turbines in the Forward Energy Center region based in Brownsville.
The company developed and placed into service 51 wind farms across the United States and in Canada and Europe, totaling over 4,400 MW.
Noah was used to climbing silos so climbing wind turbine towers was an easy transition. Eventually, he was traveling to other states and training technicians.
In 2014 Invenergy created a field engineer position and chose Noah for the job. He specializes in large component repairs like gearbox change outs and generator bearing changes. The job requires a lot of travel, but Noah enjoys seeing new places and meeting all kinds of people. He serves as a point of contact for the local technicians and helps them with troubleshooting.
Since he has been with the company the Forward Energy Center has grown from four or five sites to more than 20 sites.
“There will always be a need for technicians in any type of electrical work or energy production,” Noah said. He’s glad he followed this career path.