Nacelle training tower at BSC completed

 Oct 03 2016
Nacelle training tower at BSC completed
Bismarck State College announced today the completion of a new tower to provide training and education to students and industry partners. The Nacelle Tower is located on the west lawn of the National Energy Center of Excellence on the BSC campus. BSC, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Minnesota Power, and NextEra Energy celebrated the tower’s completion.

“Grants and partnerships with industry really enhance our ability to get students prepared to hit the ground running upon hire. Ensuring our students are well prepared for the workforce, and helping companies train their employees is work we are very proud to do,” says Dr. Larry C. Skogen, BSC President.

The top of the Nacelle Tower is 32 feet high, and the interior hub hatch stands at a height of 24 feet. Students began using the tower in September. The tower replicates the top portion of a commercial wind tower, which typically houses the generating components of the tower. In a commercial setting, the nacelle is approximately 300 feet tall. The lower height of the Nacelle Tower on the BSC campus allows students and industry to practice different scenarios in a controlled environment.

The Nacelle Tower project began in 2014 after a request from industry to create a place that wind technicians could use for safety, rope and rappelling training. Montana-Dakota Utilities and Minnesota Power each contributed $30,000 towards the project.

“It has been said that ‘Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.’ This new training facility will not only allow the students and our employees to learn to safely use their equipment and the critical techniques in a controlled environment, but it offers a cost effective way for them to acquire the repetitions that are vitally needed to be prepared,” says Alan Welte, Director of Generation for Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.

A North Dakota Department of Commerce Workforce matching grant was then secured for an additional $60,000.

“Since 2007 over $6.4 million has been awarded to the four colleges across North Dakota. Twenty-nine different projects have been funded and over 3300 students and employees have received training which leads to employment in high demand and high wage jobs. Projects not only include this tower, but Workforce Enhancement Grants have funded various healthcare, energy, manufacturing, automotive and precision agriculture training programs across the state,” says Wayde Sick, Director of ND Department of Commerce Workforce Division.

With over half of the funds raised for the project, BSC continued pursuing additional funds when NextEra Energy came forward, matching the other industry donations of $30,000.

“NextEra Energy Resources is pleased to support the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence Nacelle Tower. Training on the Nacelle Tower presents students an opportunity to train on state-of-the-art equipment that will prepare them to be safe and skilled wind energy professionals. Congratulations BSC for implementing the training tower,” says James Auld, Director of External Training Initiatives for NextEra Energy.

Two additional funding sources were secured through the Energy Generation Conference board and through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor known as Training for Regional Energy in North Dakota (TREND).

CW Structural and EAPC helped design the project, and Capital City Construction was used for the construction.