Jobs in Renewable Energy
According to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, there was an estimated investment of £29.8bn in the renewable energy sector between 2010 and 2013 in the UK.
The Office for National Statistics is very optimistic about the UK’s ability to meet (and indeed, exceed) its renewable energy goals, as set out by the European Union. The country is required to produce 15% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. It is believed that the UK achieved this in 2013. The market is rapidly expanding and jobs within the sector are following suit. There has never been a better time to apply for energy jobs.
Offshore and Renewable Energy Jobs
Offshore wind has traditionally been the most important of the renewable energy sources in terms of investment, but solar energy is experiencing a “small scale revolution” according to PWC, going from virtually no investment before 2011, to £5.7bn invested in just the last three years. England and Scotland represent the most investment, with Scotland investing more than twice that of England, per capita.
The industry’s growth potential makes it ideal for a career with longevity and prospects. We are currently seeing record numbers of jobs being created and the government is determined to do more to maximise the possibilities. Their investment over the last three years was enough to support the creation of 35,000 new jobs across the UK.
There are strong levels of further investment, with is backing jobs in new and existing renewable energy companies. According to the Renewable Energy Association (REA), there are currently 110,000 jobs in the sector. The European Commission believes this could expand to 2 million jobs by 2020.
A job in this industry brings with it the obvious benefit of helping to protect the world through harnessing the power of nature. Providing ourselves with clean and secure energy cuts our reliance on imported fossil fuels. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the movement towards a cleaner, healthier nation? It’s a proud moment when you can tell your children that you work to make the world more sustainable for their future.
Energy Job Sectors
There are various fields in which you can work in this sector. There is Offshore/Onshore Wind, Tidal Flow/Barrage, Wave/Solar Energy, Renewable Combustion and Onsite Renewables. In each sector there are a plethora of jobs for all sorts of transferable skills that you probably already have. For example:
Biofuels and Bioenergy
Biofuels run on naturally occurring, dead materials. These sectors need Engineers and Construction workers to design and build plants and Mechanics and Equipment Operators to run them.
Geothermal power harnesses the earth’s own heat. The sector requires skilled workers and those with a professional degree. Loggers, hydraulics engineers, welders, riggers mechanics are needed as well as geophysicists, geologists and even air-conditioning contractors. The ongoing development of this sector requires electronic engineers, chemists and materials scientists.
Water is one of the most powerful elements we have at our disposal. Hydroelectricity is one of the most widely used forms of renewable energy, supplying around 19% of the world’s total energy. Designing, constructing and maintaining the hydropower plants takes a lot of manpower, with jobs including technicians, mechanical engineers, resource managers and environmental scientists (ecologists, experts on wildlife and biologists).
Energy Project Managers
These are necessary for the many research and development activities that are taking place in this industry. If you were working on an onshore wind farm, a project manager might oversee the search for potential sites, planning environmental assessments and hydrogeological surveys.
As an Energy PM you would also be involved in the lobbying for the site’s approval – there are still many who object to such projects too close to home. For this job you will need a background in project management, budgeting, as well as having great communications skills and experience in selecting teams and contractors.
Within the renewable energy sector, they would typically build and test components used in projects. You might work on wind turbines, for instance, and need to calculate structure load capabilities and blade shape and size to optimise its output. For such a job you would need a relevant degree (or PhD) in maths/physics/mechanical engineering. You could potentially work for energy manufacturing companies, universities or research centres.
Other Renewable Jobs
You don’t have to work at a massive power plant to have a career in renewable energy. You could be a solar panel Installation Engineer. You will be in charge of getting the technology up and running, linking it to the grid and giving good customer service. You could work for a small or large provider of solar panels and there are various courses that you can undertake to become an installer.
Scientists and engineers are very much in demand, but do not forget the industry also needs financial experts and business administrators as it grows. The commercial side of projects always needs managing or heading up on a director’s level, therefore there are a number of senior positions going as Head of Sales or Commercial Manager.
The opportunities are endless so do explore what the energy job sector has to offer today.