Rope Workers Benefit from Alternative Energy Boom

Suspended by ropes from the top of a giant wind turbine, two men slowly descended down a long, silvery blade. Then they got to work, and from 150 feet above the ground, the hum of a sander filled the air. For Matt Touchette and Sequoia Haughey, it was another day at the office. Rope specialists like Mr. Touchette and Mr. Haughey have long filled a range of niche jobs, like inspecting big dams, cleaning Mount Rushmore and repairing offshore oil platforms. But as wind farms have sprouted across the nation, rope companies have quickly expanded into a new line of work - fixing turbines so they last longer in the elements. It's a dream job for rock-climbing types.
Photograph by Jigar Mehta/The New York Times

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