Energy Services & Renewable Technician

Delivery method: On campus, online
Program begins: Fall only

Program Description

The Energy Services & Renewable Technician program prepares graduates for field service technician careers in the rapidly expanding energy industry. Students will gain broad based technician skill-sets required in the conventional and renewable energy industry and other industries that employ automated processes.

Students receive a broad background in electrical and mechanical fundamentals, equipment and systems, instrumentation, automation and print reading. Coursework emphasizes theory and hands-on applications of applied electronics, mechanics, hydraulics, electric motor control, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), SCADA, wind turbine systems, solar photovoltaic systems, and safe work practices.

A limited number of students will be accepted to both the online and on campus programs in the fall. Online courses require lab activities that may require travel to the BSC National Energy Center of Excellence in Bismarck.


Those considering energy careers should have a high school background in chemistry, physics, algebra and English. Mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and general shop are helpful. Wind power workers must be comfortable with heights. Knowledge of electrical, hydraulic fundamentals, mechanical fundamentals and construction is useful.

Prospective students should be prepared for the physical demands of entry-level technician positions. Typical industry requirements include passing a physical exam, lifting 50+ pounds, climbing ladders, and working in confined spaces or heights. Job applicants also may be required to pass a drug screen and eye exam, including the ability to distinguish between colors accurately.

Program Requirements

Students who complete the curriculum requirements receive a Program Certificate or Associate in Applied Science degree.

Required minimum placement scores:

  • ACCUPLACER Math – 41 (elementary algebra)
  • ACT Math - 16
  • COMPASS Math – 34 (pre-algebra)

Special Costs 

A $100 deposit, required upon acceptance into the program, is applied toward tuition. Fee is non-refundable if you decide not to attend BSC.

Career Opportunities

Graduates will be prepared with multiple skills to work in various commercial or industrial facilities such as wind turbine “farms,” solar generation facilities, or any other industry where knowledge of many types of systems (electrical, hydraulic and mechanical) and control equipment is required.

Additional Information

Credits from this program may be applied to BSC’s Bachelor of Applied Science degree (BAS) in Energy Management, offered entirely online. The BAS is designed for individuals interested in supervisory and management positions in the energy industry. The BAS builds on the foundation laid in an AAS degree and includes general education classes, core management courses, and energy specific management courses.

BSC’s National Energy Center of Excellence was designated as the National Power Plant Operations Technology and Education Center by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman in 2007. This official designation recognizes BSC as the premier national center of education and training for operators and technicians in the energy industry.


701-224-5651 • 800-852-5685

ENRT 103. Applied Math

Credits: 3
Typically Offered: FASPSU
This course will teach basic math skills and apply them to energy industry situations. Students will learn the metric system, basic volume and area calculations as well as algebra and trigonometry and how they apply to industry specific situations.

ENRT 105. Safety, Health and Environment

Credits: 3
This course covers the personal protective equipment and proper safe work practices and procedures commonly used in the energy industry. Students will also gain a working knowledge of standard safety, health and environmental practices and regulations set by various government entities.

ENRT 107. Mechanical Fundamentals

Credits: 2
Typically Offered: FALL
This course provides an introduction to mechanical concepts commonly found in a plant setting. Topics covered include hand tools, piping, valves, steam traps and strainers. In addition, pumps, compressors, drivers, fans and rotating equipment are covered. Bearings, seals and lubrication are a focus in this course, as well as heat exchanger designs. Plant terminology and operator expectations are covered also.

ENRT 110. Plant Equipment and Systems

Credits: 4
Typically Offered: FALLSPR
This course provides an introduction to equipment used in the power, process and renewable industries. Valves, piping, pumps, compressors, generators, turbines, motors, lubrication systems, heat exchangers, furnaces, boilers, cooling towers, separators, reactors, and distillation columns are covered. The utilization of this equipment within systems will be covered.

ENRT 112. Print Reading

Credits: 3
This course covers schematics, prints, and piping and instrument diagrams used in the energy industry. Students will learn how to read and interpret block and single-line diagrams, which will prepare them for the logic and electrical schematics included in this course.

ENRT 116. Instrumentation and Control

Credits: 4
This course provides a comprehensive study of instrumentation components, control theory, control systems and typical controllers associated with the operation of energy facilities.

ENRT 122. Industrial Composition and Communication

Credits: 4
Typically Offered: FALL
In this course, students will learn the proper writing techniques used within the industry through practical industrial writing scenarios such as filling out work request orders, equipment logs and electrical switching orders. In addition, students will study the appropriate interpersonal skills needed to communicate effectively with co-workers and customers including resolving on-the-job conflicts and establishing positive working relationships. Students will also learn what is considered acceptable behavior in the workplace and how to recognize unacceptable behaviors.

ESRE 210. Electrical and Safe Work Practices

Credits: 3
Typically Offered: FALL
This course covers specific work practices in the areas of basic electrical safety, principles of electricity, basic process controls, elevated work and rigging. OSHA standards and safe permitting practices are components of this course.

ESRE 213. Hydraulic Fundamentals

Credits: 3
Typically Offered: FALL
This course covers principles and operation of hydraulic systems. Hydraulic system analysis and troubleshooting in the lab setting is part of this course.

ESRE 216. Mechanical Drive Systems

Credits: 4
Typically Offered: FALL
Introducing the fundamentals of mechanical drives and the application of mechanical skills and knowledge to the industrial setting. Topics covered will include couplings, chain drives, pulley drives, motor leveling and alignment, bearings, gaskets and gear drives. Demonstration by the student in the areas of torqueing, measurements, gap adjustments and shaft alignments is included.

ESRE 218. Solar and Distributed Grid Systems

Credits: 4
Typically Offered: FALL
This course includes an in-depth study of grid-direct solar arrays, small wind systems and other distributed grid systems. Curriculum also includes sizing and installation of systems.

ESRE 221. Applied Electronics

Credits: 3
Typically Offered: SPRING
This course focuses on the electronic components and devices that are critical in the operation of renewable energy facilities. Students will understand their function and how to troubleshoot them.

ESRE 224. Automation and Control

Credits: 3
Typically Offered: SPRING
Students learn the control devices used to operate motors and generators in an industrial or renewable power generation facility. Some of the equipment covered: relays, contactors, motor starters, PLCs and variable frequency drives.

ESRE 226. Commercial Wind Systems

Credits: 3
Typically Offered: SPRING
Commercial wind turbine systems are the focus of this course. The interoperation of the subsystems in a commercial wind turbine, the tracking and data acquisition using SCADA systems and the distribution of the generated power are convered in this course. The technician's role in the successful operation of the facility is another component of this course.

ESRE 228. Energy Technician Applications and Troubleshooting

Credits: 5
Typically Offered: SPRING
This course, primarily a hands-on course, takes the core technician skills learned and integrates them into practice. Lab systems included are hydraulic, mechanical, electric motors/motor control, PLSs, and other control systems. This course will develop and test the students troubleshooting skills and prepare them to work safely and effectively in an industrial or renewable power generation facility. Students enrolling in the online option will be required to complete two weeks of lab activities on the BSC Campus.

PWRP 224. Power Generation Components and Protection

Credits: 3
Students enrolled in this course will study the design and construction of large industrial generators used in the production of electricity. Students will study the various exciter designs and operation and the various auxiliary equipment that supports generator operation. Students enrolled in this course will study the electrical systems from the main generator through the switchyard.