There is no field in this world where the technology has not left hands on. One of such recently developed industry is renewable energy industry.
A large amount of money is invested by a large number of companies that have engaged in wind and marine energy-related business activities. The companies vary from large energy companies to small organizations with a handful of employees.
At times, students are interested in perusing a career in the same. But not much awareness persists for the same. At times, students are confused and need proper career guidance for the same.
In the past, it would have been difficult to imagine something like this. The career in renewable I challenging but with the development of technologies, the sector has also developed at higher paces thus informing us that the industry has a huge potential for development.
You need not always work on the field. It all depends on the job you pick or the specialization you own. The works are both indoor and outdoor, land or at sea or in an office or a laboratory. It is completely on you to decide as per your choices. Some positions even require traveling and working at unique places across the world. Doesn’t it sound interesting?
What industry is exactly the renewable energy industry? How is it different from other industries?
The Renewable Energy industry is that part of the energy industry that mainly focuses on new and appropriate renewable energy technologies. In recent years, this industry has experienced a lot of booms. Industrialists and governments are paying large attention to such industries. The industry started to expand by 2008 and around $120 billion were invested in the renewable energy industry.
The industry is more-labor-intensive and hence is quite promising in employment. According to statistics, about 2.3 million people work directly or indirectly in this industry where 300,000 in the wind power industry, 17,000 in the PV sector and around 624,000 in the solar thermal industry. Notably, around 1 million jobs are located in the biomass and biofuel sectors.
This industry is different from other industries in many ways. The main difference lies in the way the two affect the economy.
While a huge number of people are employed in this industry other factors like Human Welfare, Economic Stimulation, and Energy Efficiency come into the picture.
Clearly, renewable energy resources reduce waste in the current system. Moreover, the resources used are themselves renewable thus increasing the overall efficiency.
Human Welfare comes into the picture in different ways. As it is known a large population of the country has no access to electricity. So installing solar power stations and providing them electricity is sure to change their lives for the better.
What exactly is an energy engineer?
Now, there are reasons that the renewable energy industry has experienced such a boom. Energy engineers’ main job is to find ways to reduce the overall energy consumed so that maximum output can be fetched. They also need timely improve and develop their mechanisms for the efficiency of machines and increasing outputs generated. A number of subfields exist for energy engineering. They are not only meant to utilize energy generation sphere but they also need to manufacture these within manufacturing environments.
What are the types of energy engineering?
Though there are a lot of common energy engineering fields, a few of the famous of them stated below:
GREEN BUILDING ENGINEER
Infrastructure developers constantly look for the most effective use of energy at building structures. All the aspects of the construction must be looked at and analyzed in the perspective of energy efficiency.
This not only means looking for energy efficient facilities but also energy efficient raw materials to energy efficient methods of construction i.e., the design must also be energy efficient. At times it is even possible to construct building that store and produce their own energies.
The main responsibilities of energy engineers include:
- Analyzing energy usage and recommending ways to improve energy efficiency in the existing infrastructures.
- Design buildings that are self-sufficient in passive methods for energy efficiency.
ENERGY SYSTEM ENGINEER
The focus of an Energy System Engineer is to look for the broader view of energy view. They also need to look at how the energy-related activities on the economy. For every engineer working in this field, irrespective of their jobs, they need to have a broad knowledge from basic engineering to how economy and energy systems are interrelated.
- Deeply studying the current renewable energy industry and finding the loopholes and possible improvements.
- Determining efficiency and ways to improve energy plants.
- Studying how the new energy installations impact the economy.
RENEWABLE ENERGY ENGINEER
As we know, with the development of technology, alternative energy is also on the increase. A number of renewable energy projects are coming online all over the world. These include solar arrays, wind farms, wave power generation, and geothermal power plants.
With the increase in demand for resources, coal and nuclear power stations are falling out of resources. This leaves an urge to innovate renewable energy sectors.
The main aim of improving renewable energy sources is to find the best possible ways of decreasing the overall cost.
The main works of renewable energy engineer include:
- Designing renewable energy systems for solar and wind plants.
- Optimizing all the existing energy methods.
- Looking up for designing new renewable technologies.
The types of renewable energy jobs include:
- Offshore Renewable Energy Jobs
- Biofuels and Bioenergy
- Energy Project Managers
Let us discuss these renewable energy jobs in detail.
- Offshore Renewable Energy
Offshore wind is one of those renewable sources that receive the maximum of the investment from people in the world.
A record number of jobs have been created in the world. The governments are determined to increase such job opportunities and maximize the possibilities.
The most important benefit of this job is that it indirectly benefits the world by protecting the world by harnessing the power of nature. If we develop this industry quite well, it is sure to reduce our dependency on importing fossil fuels.
Somewhere deep down everyone wishes to be a part of a clean and healthier nation. So why not this?
- Biofuels and Bioenergy
Biofuels run on the dead material that occurs naturally. The engineers in this sector need to design and build plants for the same.
- Geothermal Energy
Geothermal scientifically is earth’s own heat present deep inside the core. This sector demands a large number of skilled workers as the work is quite dangerous and needs careful attention. Loggers, hydraulic engineers, welder’s riggers mechanics, geologists are few prime working jobs of the industry.
This industry is currently under development and requires electronic engineers, chemists, and material scientists.
Water is the necessity for every living being. But had anyone imagined producing energy using water? But today it is possible. Hydroelectricity is not unknown to you if you wish to work for this industry. Today it is widely used in the form of dams to generate various forms of energies. Surprisingly, today hydroelectricity supplies around 19% of the world’s total energy. Hydropower plants are one of those industries that consume that consume a lot of manpower. From designing, construction to maintenance, a number of technicians, mechanical engineers, and environmental scientists are employed in these industries to create successful projects.
What are design engineers?
The main job of design engineers is to build and test components that are used in the projects.
Let us consider for instance that a person wishes to work on wind turbines. Now you being a design engineer, you need to think of various things at various perspectives. Apart from measuring wind capacitated and all you also need to decide structure load capabilities. You also need to deeply study blade shape and size. For such jobs, a relevant degree is needed.
Do the opportunities really exist in the industry?
One may think that if you decide to work for a big and massive power plant, then only you have a career in renewable energy. But it is not the case. Consider an example of a solar panel installation engineer. Solar Panel Installation Engineer will be the in charge of getting the technology up and running to link to the grid and giving good customer services. It is your choice to work for small or large solar panel sellers. Surprisingly most jobs in demand for the renewable energy industry are that of scientists and engineers. But one thing to be taken in mind is that industry also demands financial and business administration as soon as the business grows and prospers. The commercial side of projects also needs to be equally managed, thus a number of senior positions like Head of Sales or Commercial Managers.
One can say that the opportunities are endless; one just needs to explore them according to one’s interests.
Unlike the saying, are there any career opportunities in the renewable energy sector?
The variety of job opportunity pathways in the renewable sector is vast. A single project is a contribution of a vast number of people which is a lot more than people in normal industries. The individuals of the industry belong from a range of backgrounds and skill sets are needed. The industry is split into a number of phases called project development phases. The jobs also vary according to the phases. Given below are the main phases of project development and the main jobs needed in the phases:
- Research, Planning, and Development
The main jobs in this phase include data analysts, planners, software developers, GIS technicians, environmental analysts, ecologists, and aerodynamics specialists, technical experts of respective fields, scientists, mechanical and electrical engineers.
- Design and Manufacture
The main jobs in this phase include procurement of kit, kit selection, technical designers, mechanical and electrical engineers, grid connection design, marine experts.
- Construction and Installation
The main jobs in this phase include project managers, contract managers, civil engineers, site management.
- Operations and Maintenance
The main jobs in this phase include grid connection, electricity generation, maintenance, and technician.
- Various Support Services
The main jobs for people working in this phase are business development, communication, and public relations. They also include human resources, finance, legal support, facilities management.
What are the basic skills required to work in the renewable energy industry? Do the employers look for some specific qualifications?
Core STEM subjects play the most important role in renewable. There are different ways through which people can enter this industry. Apprenticeships are like taking the experience of working in the industry. They are sort of internships where you get a paid experience of working within the industry. It is as an opportunity to learn more about the work while studying.
A high qualification job can also be gained with suitable and relevant graduate and postgraduate courses.
The employers tend to look for people with a professional qualification. The IET, IMechE, and ICE are some relevant renewable for the same. Such qualifications How much are employees paid in the renewable energy sector? Starting salaries vary according to employer, project and job roles but further promotions and high qualifications are sure to fetch you enough out of your job.
Any tips for the students who seek out to go for engineering?
Following are some tips that students must follow before pursuing engineering:
- One should only choose to engineer because you are interested in the career.
- You must own passion for your work as the industry needs passion.
- Try getting experience early in your course to stay ahead.
- Apply for internships in various firms for work experience.
- Remember to own valid reasons for choosing a particular job. The interviewers often ask this question and our reasons tend to be convincing to the interviewers.
- Don’t forget to show that you ‘feel’ engineering rather than just working on calculations.
I hope this article helps you in getting Careers Advice Service if you wish to join the renewable energy industry.
Kyra is a Hiring Director at Alliance Recruitment Agency – an IT Recruitment Agency. She specializes in helping with international recruiting, staffing, Top CFO Recruiting Firms, HR services, and Careers advice service for overseas and international businesses.