When they give us all those figures about renewable energy we really don’t pay much attention, because what’s really important to us is how a windfarm has succeeded in reinvigorating a village like ours, and how it has enabled us to survive the serious economic downturn we’re currently going through.
The normal option for people of our generation in this area is to emigrate to the big city. We see it in our friends and we see it in ourselves. These villages are the last thing on anyone’s mind. However, the start-up of the El Romeral (Toledo) windfarm has allowed us several luxuries which are denied to all but a very few: the chance to work in our village, to work on something we like, to work with nature, to work with our families and to work on something like wind power which is so positive for the planet. But above all: to work.
Our job gives us the chance to be involved in a business with a healthy outlook for the future, which is at the forefront of technology and constantly developing. In addition to this, because it’s such a relatively new sector, the work team is very young and is keen to get ahead in their work and to innovate. We believe that the wind power industry offers nothing but advantages.
The benefit of the windfarm in this area couldn’t be clearer. On the one hand, it has created direct job opportunities for those of us who work at the windfarm every day, and has also brought indirect benefits to other businesses in the area, such as restaurants and hotels for the staff who come to work here on a temporary basis when the workload is greater. Others who have gained include hardware suppliers, bookshops, and small workshops from which we purchase materials needed on the windfarm.
The job of a windfarm operator is fairly interesting and not at all monotonous, since we work with the latest generation of machines and learn something new every day. What’s more, before arriving at the windfarm each morning you’re never quite sure what’s going to be waiting for you or what work you’ll be doing that day, since it’s also highly dependent on the weather conditions.
Another thing we value very highly about this job is the surroundings in which we work. It allows us to be in direct contact with nature, and this is something we really enjoy.
Our work is divided into two clearly-differentiated areas: administrative jobs, when we manage all the documentation and work concerning the safety of the windfarm, and the part we like most of all –working in the field, where we can dedicate ourselves to making sure “our” farm is in the best condition and is as efficient as possible. During our working hours, one of us stays in the farm’s substation doing administrative work, while the other accompanies the various maintenance contractors who carry out work in the installations, so as to supervise them and make sure that everything complies with the safety regulations in order to minimise the risks deriving from their activities.
Outside working hours, we take turns to be on call so that the windfarm is permanently manned. That’s the hardest thing –and getting to the farm in the early hours of the morning in winter when the temperatures are really low – that’s what we find most difficult. But there’s no doubt that this job is well worth the trouble.