Hydroelectric Plant Technicians

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Also known as:
Hydroelectric Plant Operator, Power Plant Control Room Operator, Powerhouse Operator, Turbine Room Attendant

ABOUT HYDROELECTRIC PLANT TECHNICIAN CAREERS
Video transcript

The development of alternative energy production relies on a backbone of technicians to operate energy generation systems and equipment. Alternative energy plant and system technicians operate machinery such as valves, pumps, and generators to produce energy. They monitor gauges and meters to ensure safe, efficient production, and adjust equipment as needed. They also inspect equipment, and perform maintenance and repairs. These technicians work with a variety of fuel sources: Corn, sugarcane, soybeans and other plants are used to produce biofuels. Technicians operate centrifuges and other equipment to produce biofuels at a steady rate of production; they later lab-test fuel to ensure quality and consistency. Methane gas is collected from landfills, where it rises from solid waste decomposing in municipal stations. Technicians monitor the environment, maintain pumps and blower systems, and troubleshoot problems that occur as gases are captured, converted, and used as a renewable energy resource. Woody materials and animal manure are the primary sources of biomass that technicians convert into energy. They adjust energy production, and record readings on meters and gauges. At hydropower stations, the force of water released from a dam turns the blades of a turbine, generating electricity. Technicians keep generators and other equipment functioning properly. Jobs in these fields usually require a high school diploma, although hydroelectric plant technicians may need related technical training or an associate's degree.

SNAPSHOT
Monitor and control activities associated with hydropower generation. Operate plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, and battery banks. Monitor equipment operation and performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance. Perform equipment maintenance and repair as necessary.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
MED
Daily tasks

Perform preventive or corrective containment or cleanup measures in hydroelectric plants to prevent environmental contamination.

Erect scaffolds, platforms, or hoisting frames to access hydroelectric plant machinery or infrastructure for repair or replacement.

Perform tunnel or field inspections of hydroelectric plant facilities or resources.

Change oil, hydraulic fluid, or other lubricants to maintain condition of hydroelectric plant equipment.

Implement load or switching orders in hydroelectric plants, in accordance with specifications or instructions.

Operate high voltage switches or related devices in hydropower stations.

Cut, bend, or shape metal for applications in hydroelectric plants, using equipment such as hydraulic benders or pipe threaders.

Start, adjust, or stop generating units, operating valves, gates, or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric power generating plants.

Connect metal parts or components in hydroelectric plants by welding, soldering, riveting, tapping, bolting, bonding, or screwing.

Install or calibrate electrical or mechanical equipment, such as motors, engines, switchboards, relays, switch gears, meters, pumps, hydraulics, or flood channels.

Inspect water-powered electric generators or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric plants to verify proper operation or to determine maintenance or repair needs.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Building and Construction Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
TOP SKILLS
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Repairing Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.