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Hydroelectric Plant Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Monitors and controls activities associated with hydropower generation. Operates plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, and battery banks. Monitors equipment operation and performances and makes necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance. Performs equipment maintenance and repairs as necessary.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Production/Process Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Operates high voltage switches or related devices in hydropower stations.
  • Identifies or addresses malfunctions of hydroelectric plant operational equipment, such as generators, transformers, or turbines.
  • Inspects water-powered electric generators or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric plants to verify proper operation or to determine maintenance or repair needs.
  • Starts, adjusts, or stops generating units, operating valves, gates, or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric power generating plants.
  • Implements load or switching orders in hydroelectric plants, in accordance with specifications or instructions.
  • Performs preventive or corrective containment or cleanup measures in hydroelectric plants to prevent environmental contamination.
  • Maintains or repairs hydroelectric plant electrical, mechanical, or electronic equipment, such as motors, transformers, voltage regulators, generators, relays, battery systems, air compressors, sump pumps, gates, or valves.
  • Operates hydroelectric plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, or battery banks.
  • Communicates status of hydroelectric operating equipment to dispatchers or supervisors.
  • Monitors hydroelectric power plant equipment operation and performance, adjusting to performance specifications, as necessary.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves keeping or regaining your balance more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupations requires climbing things such as ladders, scaffold, and poles more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Hydro Operations and Maintenance Technician (Hydro O&M Technician) --
  • Hydro Plant Technician --
  • Hydro Technician --
  • Hydroelectric Mechanic --
  • Operations and Maintenance Technican (O&M Technician) --
  • Plant Mechanic --
  • Power Plant Mechanic --
  • Power Plant Operator --
  • Power Plant Technician --