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Is renewable energy a good career choice?

renewable energy

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Renewable energy is playing a key role when it comes to helping the global war against climate change. The Uk is at the forefront of the renewable energy industry’s technological advancements and developments.  

Globally our concerns over our planet’s environment have grown over the years, along with our investments into creating a greener planet in order to combat global warming. Due to this, jobs in renewable energy have skyrocketed. Matching innovative technologies with global monetary support, renewable energy is a booming sector. 

Using new energy sources such as wind power, wind farms, solar power, and tidal barrages to biofuels, clean and renewable energy sources are increasingly becoming familiar to all of us. Slowly but surely they are becoming even more important than ever as world governments attempt to meet international targets for reducing carbon emissions.

But what opportunities are there in the sector for graduates with an interest in energy and the environment? 

Jobs in Renewable Energy

Internationally, we are making huge efforts to generating a positive change to the world’s energy consumption. In particular, as we advance technologically, our energy consumption grows with this. Due to this, the renewable energy sector will see huge growth in the upcoming years.

The exciting thing about this growth means that it will inevitably generate a huge breadth of roles and career pathways in renewable energy. Each renewable energy project that is created requires the contribution of a plethora of backgrounds and skillsets. From Ecologists, planners, and project managers, to engineers, communication professionals, business developers, electricians, and even helicopter pilots. 

Even more excitingly, this means where you work could depend on the role you choose to pursue. Whether you want to work outdoors on land or out at sea, in the comfort of an office, or within the walls of a laboratory. Many of the roles will also provide opportunities to travel and work in unusual environments globally. Choosing a career in renewable energy provides you with the chance to be part of an exciting movement, a growing industry, and play your role in protecting our world.

Another attraction of working within the industry will be longevity as the UK transitions away from using fossil fuels over to using renewable energy sources. In the UK renewable energy is the countries largest source of providing generated electricity, generating an impressive 43% of the country’s annual power needs. The Uk has plans to ramp this up in the years ahead to meet their carbon reduction targets, which means there’s never been a better time to consider a career in renewable energy to become a part of a thriving sector.

The growth in renewable energy  

Many fantastic opportunities are opening up for students and graduates with an interest in the industry. Many companies have started exclusively recruiting within the sector demonstrates that this is already huge growth and demonstrates the potential for more within the industry. 

Nationwide, around 6,500 companies now operate within this sector with newly created jobs arising all around the country. Priding itself on not being an industry dependant on thriving within London and the southeast corridor. The much-vaunted northern powerhouse is responsible for almost 11,000 of the jobs in our sector.’

There is an exciting area of growth within the country’s energy storage sector. This has been providing the UK and international job opportunities for both students and graduates with an interest in building a career within the sector. It has even been suggested by LUX research that the global industry for energy storage could be worth £77 billion within the next few years.

Currently, a majority of the renewable energy jobs are available in China, India, Japan, Brazil, the United states., and Germany. In fact, 62% of all renewable energy jobs are based in Asia, as installation and manufacturing continue to shift to the region. Among the clean energy sectors, solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer for energy agencies in 2016, employing 3.1 million people – a 12% increase compared to 2015. Liquid biofuels (1.7 million jobs), solid biomass (0.7 million), and biogas (0.3 million) were also major employers, as reported by IRENA.

Skill shortages in renewable energy

Initially, when the energy companies were first privatized, energy companies were overwhelmed with engineers and scientists. However, over the last decade, the balance has become tilted towards graduates with commercial skills. 

Over time, along with the growth of the industry and energy transition, there has become a skill shortage for all types of engineers – ranging from general mechanical design, environmental engineers to more specific wind energy engineers. The skill shortage isn’t limited to the industry’s need for engineers, alongside this, there is a large lack of scientists such as ecologists, as well as those with design and technical skills, including landscape and wind analysts.

Career prospects 

Whether you’ve got a passion for wind turbines, a general interest in geothermal energy or are ready to strike your career working with sustainable energy then you can rest assured that career opportunities are good and in most instances, you’ll have the chance to work up to a senior engineer or management position. 

The salary you earn can vary depending on your location and the size and nature of your employer.

There are also opportunities to join the growing number of environmental consultancies, become self-employed, or move into the education field to lecture on energy engineering.

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