With the UK set for a last-gasp push to meet the targets set in the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, could now be a better time than ever to seek a career as an energy engineer?
Employment levels are on the rise in the energy sector, with consumer attitudes towards renewable energy encouraging much-needed investment into new facilities and research.
So what are the factors driving the demand for energy engineers and how can you forge a career path in this attractively salaried field?
Climate change challenge
Although awareness of climate change is at an all-time high and people are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact, renewable energy still only accounts for about 10% of global energy consumption.
In the UK this number is much higher, with 33% of energy coming from renewable sources. This has been made possible primarily by wind farms and solar farms, with new offshore wind facilities and increased wind speeds contributing to the uplift.
Part of the plans to move to renewable energy include phasing out coal entirely by 2025, while raising the percentage of renewable energy to 75% by 2030.
Despite all the progress and promises, certain areas like transport continue to use more energy than ever, putting the improvement made at jeopardy of being swallowed up by ever-higher demand.
In the past, one of the primary challenges for meeting renewable energy targets has been investment in the technology and facilities needed to take renewable energy consumption up a notch.
With these new signs of development and changes in consumer behaviour, like increased sales of electric cars, investors now see renewable energy as a better prospect.
This led to a whopping $10.4 billion investment in clean energy in the UK in 2018.
With that kind of investment comes employment opportunities, from engineers to work on new developments, to construction of new facilities, maintenance of those facilities and so on.
Whether you’re looking to get into a career in energy engineering or you are looking to retrain having specialised in another kind of energy that’s now in decline, there’s plenty of information out there to help you find your path. We’ve gathered everything you need to know below.
Becoming an energy engineer – how & why
UCAS has a page dedicated to energy engineering, explaining what the role entails and what you need to do to become one. Prospects also has a page full of information on the skills required, what to expect and courses you can take to train as an energy engineer.
This is the kind of role that requires a degree in an engineering or scientific subject, but with a starting salary of up to £30,000 and a higher range of £60,000 and beyond, it’s well worth the investment.
Energy engineers are generally considered to have great career prospects. They’re already in high demand, and when we look back at the earlier parts of this article we can see that this demand is expected to grow even further in the coming years.
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