Jessica Kilroy is no stranger to the giant, towering wind turbines are becoming a much more visible sight on the horizon in many countries now as they continue to supply increasing amounts of clean energy. Love them or hate them they are here to stay. According to the Wind Energy Foundation a single turbine can power about 500 homes and the US has about 48,500 of them in operation, which can amount to around 6.6% of its electricity.
But, like all technology, wind turbines can breakdown or experience problems. And when they do they need to be fixed quickly. But due to their sheer height—they can be up to around 300ft tall—there's only a few qualified technicians who are able to do so. Someone who is willing to scale the great height they require to function.
One of those is rock climber Jessica Kilroy, who makes a living scaling wind turbines and repairing their blades, blades that have been damaged due to rain or snow causing them to crack, or lightning striking and causing issues. Jessica has dangled from ropes all over the globe and as she travels, she volunteers her time for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation as a water sample collector for microplastics research.
In this video by Great Big Story Jessica Kilroy recounts how she came to be a wind turbine technician and notes that it has many of the same qualities as rock climbing: you need to not be afraid of heights, comfortable on ropes, and be able to get yourself out of tricky situations.
And Kilroy, who makes it all look so easy, has had plenty of those—in fact she says when the winds rattling around it often feels like she's in a rodeo, but tens of feet up. Oh my.