Jessica Kilroy working on wind turbine
A dream come true for rock climber, outdoors enthusiast Jessica Kilroy. Photo: Courtesy of Great Big Story.

Hanging from ropes, 350 feet in the air, is all in a day’s work for Jessica Kilroy.

Kilroy: “The company I work for specializes in fiberglass repair on wind turbine blades. We do rope access, which is utilizing rock climbing ropes to get to the hard-to-reach places on towers and blades.”

A career like this is a dream come true for the rock climber and outdoors enthusiast. She remembers sitting with fellow climbers in Yosemite National Park years ago.

Kilroy: “We were talking about how we could utilize our rock climbing skills to better the environment rather than hurt it. You know, there’s high-paying rope access jobs in oil, but none of us could really stomach that because we’re all environmentalists.”

Today, Kilroy’s job has her perched hundreds of feet in the air, doing inspections and repairs on wind turbines across the country.

And hers is just one type of job within a growing clean energy industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar installation and wind turbine technician jobs – both in the air and on the ground – will be some of the fastest growing occupations in the country over the next decade.

Kilroy: “It’s nice to feel like I can be a part of that force.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...