One of the benefits to becoming a renewable energy engineer is that you can potentially get the chance to do a lot of travelling around the world, taking in all sorts of weird and wonderful scenery, and have a sense of achievement knowing that you are working towards improving the future of our planet.
Of course, you might not always end up being sent to some exotic locations like Hawaii or Bermuda, and you could spend an awful lot of time in rather cold and windy parts of the world!
But having said that, it’s an awesome industry to get involved with, and aside from the obvious environmental benefits there is also the fact that you will be paid quite well for what you do!
The renewable energy industry gives you the opportunity to work with sustainable sources of energy such as biofuels, hydropower, solar and wind power.
If you are considering becoming a renewable energy engineer, then here is what you need to know in order to pursue such a career in the renewable energy industry.
What you would typically get involved with
As a renewable energy engineer, your job would comprise of many of the following aspects:
- Research – finding new ‘green’ ways to generate energy, such as assessing locations suitable for building new wind or solar panel farms;
- Development – designing bespoke machinery and tools to improve existing green energy extraction processes;
- People management – supervising other team members to ensure goals or deadlines are met;
- Liaising with third parties – dealing with contractors, geologists, and geophysicists and assisting with any queries;
- Experimenting – trialling new technologies on small scales prior to setting up production processes.
You should bear in mind that being a renewable energy engineer means that you do not work typical 9 to 5 days! It is not uncommon for engineers to be working shift patterns on a seven-day basis; this includes evenings and weekends.
Office-based roles such as those involved with research and development tend to have more forgiving working patterns akin to typical office workers.
Graduate engineers can expect to earn salaries of between £21,000 and £31,000 per annum, although these figures might be higher or lower depending on which discipline you work in.
Seasoned renewable energy engineers that have more practical experience can expect to earn anything from £35,000 to £70,000 per year.
Many renewable energy engineers actually work as self-employed contractors rather than directly for one specific firm or organisation, and in such cases it is not unusual to attain even higher rates of pay.
In order to become a renewable energy engineer, you will need to have a university degree, such as a BEng or BSc, or a Masters (MEng or MSc) in an engineering or science subject like environmental technology, Earth sciences, environmental engineering or renewable and sustainable energy.
Additionally, being certified after completing LEED AP training can also help your chances of getting that dream job, as well as showing documented interest in the subject by submitting research papers, for example.