Energy Career Profile: Wind Energy Developer

Wind energy is an exciting sector in which to work right now. Technology is advancing at an unprecedented speed and the percentage of wind power that makes up the global mix is creeping up. To top it all off, some giant turbines have been popping up around the world. One notable turbine is so powerful that with just one rotation it can power your home for the whole day. Pretty impressive stuff, right?

If you want to get in on the action, there is no better time than now to join the wind energy workforce. It is one of the few sectors that is growing exponentially, so there is always a need for bright, innovative workers. Here is what your future could look like if you take the path of wind energy development.

Basics of the Job

You know those wind farms you often see when you’re driving near the coast or flying over the sea? You will be in charge of transforming those from ideas on a piece of paper to the real deal. The turbines you set in motion will be responsible for powering thousands of local homes because you found a utility company willing to buy this slightly more expensive, but infinitely cleaner energy source from you.

Before you knew it, your bedroom light was being powered by the very energy you helped create. Being a wind energy developer comes with a lot of responsibility, but it is all worth it in the end when you can see the tangible results of your labour. And, as a cherry on top, you will be part of the team that saves the planet from destruction by promoting sustainable energy.

Job Duties

Essentially, your job is to build wind farms, but there are a number of elements to this that need to be considered. First you need to determine where the wind farm should be and acquire the relevant permissions for building it. You will find the most suitable location by analysing meteorological data and looking at existing infrastructure in the area.

Once you have secured the land, you’ll need to conduct a feasibility survey and make sure there is someone willing to buy your energy. This means approaching utility companies and pitching your wind energy to them. When everything is good to go and you have the required capital, you can start building. While construction takes place, reports will need to be written up and it is likely you will present at regular intervals to managers and shareholders.

Where to Work

The beauty of wind energy is that it can be found wherever the wind blows, which is pretty much anywhere in the world. You will spend your time in the field searching for appropriate locations for your wind farm and making presentations to officials and the public. You will also visit your site regularly during the subsequent phases before construction.

In the office, you will be busy writing the necessary reports and working with the legal team to draft lease agreements and contracts. You will also need to stay abreast any developments in the wind sector, so a chunk of your time will be devoted to market research.

Who to Work For

Wind energy developers can most usually find work with energy firms, particularly those interested in green energy. There are also positions with government bodies and environmental firms. Alternatively, you could strike out alone and work as a consultant, which requires more effort as you always need to find new projects, but it gives you greater control over when and where you work.

Energy Career Profile: Hazardous Waste Technician

Underrated but highly valuable, the role of the hazardous waste technician is one of vital importance. The energy world is becoming greener every day, with new technologies and installations cropping up on a regular basis. However, we aren’t 100% renewably powered just yet and in the meantime, there are some nasty side products of our energy generation that need to be dealt with. This is where the hazardous waste technician comes in. Their job is to make sure all of the hazardous materials are safely disposed of.

The Basics of the Job

You’re completely covered in a protective suit and you have an important mission. You need to make sure that the hazardous waste in the back of a truck ends up being safely stored away so that it doesn’t wind up in a landfill or being poured down a drain. You know exactly what kind of waste each substance is and how it should be disposed of in order to keep it from contaminating the surrounding land and water.

You sort the waste into categories according the to its active ingredient. Some will be recycled and some will need to be shipped to special recycling and disposal plants. By meticulously sorting the waste and disposing of it responsibly you are playing a significant role in saving the environment from even more damage.

Job Duties

Your main job duty will be making sure all of the hazardous waste placed in your care is disposed of correctly and that none of it seeps into the land or water. You will maintain registers, inventories and documents of everything you encounter and the method in which you have disposed of it. You will need to follow complex procedures for chemical handling and waste management.

You will then fill in reports outlining the actions and measures you took as well as the necessary paperwork for sending non-recyclable hazardous waste to the appropriate disposal centre. Everything must be carefully documented, as there are high degrees of accountability and responsibility associated with this job. You will also need to ensure you are up to date with any new processes and procedures regarding hazardous waste management.

Where You Will Be Working

As a hazardous waste technician you will work in a number of different environments, including in the field. Here you will receive and inspect hazardous waste before organising it into appropriate categories. You will operate the process equipment used for treatment and disposal as well as vehicles for transporting the waste.

Back in the office, you will need to fill in the necessary paperwork relating to your recent tasks. You will also have data that need to be analysed and communications that must be sent to the relevant authorities. You may also spend time researching innovative disposal processes to make your job easier and more effective.

Who to Work For

The scope of possible work placements for a hazardous waste technician is broad. You could find yourself at a waste recycling and disposal facility or a waste management firm. Alternatively, you could work for a lab, hospital or manufacturing firm and take charge of the hazardous waste coming from that establishment. Finally, there are opportunities to work in government departments or within universities and research institutes.

Energy Career Profile: Glaciologist

Are you looking for a career in the energy sector that is rewarding, interesting and that sounds really cool? Then grab your laptop and start your application to be a glaciologist.

As global warming ramps up and the polar ice caps continue to decline at unprecedented rates, there has never been a more important time to pay attention to glaciers. From the Arctic Circle down to Patagonia and Antarctica, icebergs and glaciers are diminishing, which means rising sea levels and loss of habitat for a number of creatures that call these icy regions home. The future of the world’s ice-bound regions is looking dim, but promising glaciologists could be part of the force that repairs the situation.

The Basics of the Job

Glaciologists study the physical properties, formation and movements of ice caps, glaciers, ice shelves and any other large chunks of ice and snow. You will analyse how climate change affects these ice shelves and, in turn, how they affect the climate.

One day you might be trekking across a glacier to collect recordings as to how far it has moved since you first installed markers in it. The next day you may take samples from the walls of an ice shelf in order to analyse the annual level of snowfall. You will also use this data to discover what sort of pollutants affect the area and to measure the effects this has on the ice caps.

Job Duties

Being a glaciologist means having a huge range of different job duties. There will be a lot of responsibility and you will work hard but every day will be bring new and exciting challenges so you’re unlikely to ever be bored. One of your main duties will be travelling to icy regions and collecting samples from the glaciers and ice shelves found there. You will then use these samples for data analysis and research purposes back in the lab.

When you find yourself sat at a desk, your job will be to compile your findings into reports. These reports may be designed to inform others of the situation or to help find solutions to any problems you have discovered. You may also need to liaise with the media regarding any notable discoveries you make.

Where You Will Be Working

If you don’t like the idea of being stuck behind your desk for eight hours a day every day then being a glaciologist should suit you just fine. While there will be periods of you being deskbound, there will also be large chunks of time when you will be out in the field. Trips to uninhabited parts of the world, such as the harsh but extremely beautiful Antarctica, will be on the cards. Essentially, anywhere that has big chunks of ice could become your office for the week. You may also be required to spend time in the lab conducting practical experiments in controlled conditions.

Who to Work For

As with most energy jobs, there is always a need for experts and specialists within the government. However, if that’s not something you feel you can get behind there are plenty of other opportunities with NGOs, academic institutions, and consultancy firms.

The Largest Energy Companies in the World

There’s big business in Energy. When looking at company revenues, it’s no surprise to see 6 energy companies in the top 10 largest companies list worldwide. Of those 6 companies listed in the top 10, 5 are directly involved in the oil and gas industry. The sole outlier in that group of 6 top 10 companies that isn’t directly involved in Oil and Gas is China’s state-owned State Grid, the national electricity provider.

China’s presence in the list is clearly felt, holding the top 3 spots when looking at the energy market only. State Grid, Sinopec, and China National Petroleum occupy the highest spots on the list, with Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell coming in fourth. It is curious to note, however, that among the privately held companies, so excluding the Chinese companies, Shell is not the largest energy company when the list is ranked in order of Market capitalization size. Exxon Mobil, the US conglomerate, takes the crown there surpassing even the Chinese oil producers in that ranking, though the results are skewed because of the ownership structure of these companies.

So far, we have named 5 of the 6 companies that feature in the global list of largest companies by revenue. To recap, those companies and their rankings on the overall top 10 list are: State Grid (China) (2), Sinopec (3), China National Petroleum (4), Royal Dutch Shell (5), and Exxon Mobil (9). Coming in at number 8, ahead of Exxon Mobil we find BP. BP has seen tremendous growth in recent years following some major setbacks. Traditionally one of the big players, bad business decisions and disasters have marred the company and stifled growth but those days seem to be changing.

While it may be crowded with energy companies at the top, the further we travel down the list, the more diverse the list becomes with energy companies interspersed among many other sectors’ companies.

Energy Career Profile: Agricultural Engineer

The world of energy is incredibly vast and it is growing larger every day. But, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the energy job market. We know that it is a huge industry, but few of us could tell you the specific jobs that are on offer within it.

This series of energy career profiles aims to shed some light on this lucrative but little-understood sector. Each week we will highlight a potential career for someone interested in entering the energy workforce. Some of them might seem obvious while others may be more obscure. The point is that if you have the right qualifications, the sky is really your limit when it comes to a career in energy.

This week we are going to take a look at the role of the agricultural engineer within the energy sector.

The Basics of the Job

Humans depend heavily on farming to provide the sustenance we need to survive. Most of us don’t think twice about where our food comes from when we do our grocery shopping. However, if there is a drought or some other natural disaster that affects our crop, people suffer – particularly people in developing countries who rely directly on the harvest of local crops.

As an agricultural engineer you will be in charge of designing systems to keep agricultural land as fruitful as possible. This might mean implementing irrigation systems and drainage systems or organising crop rotations to make the most of the region’s sunshine and rainfall. The result of your hard work will be a plentiful crop that provides money for farmers and nourishment for local people.

Job Duties

There is a range of duties that fall under the umbrella of agricultural engineer. The main task will be using your understanding of agriculture and construction to design and implement drainage, flooding, irrigation and other farming systems. This will be combined with an analysis of data to determine where, when, and how these systems are best used.

Another important area of the job is research. You will need to stay abreast of any new developments in the sector and to understand new technologies that could enhance the work you are doing. Finally, there will be technical responsibilities, such as writing reports and ensuring compliance with local agricultural standards.

Where You Will Be Working

Agricultural engineers do a mixture of office and field based work. You will spend a lot of time at project sites evaluating the work going on and overseeing the implementation of the systems you have designed. You will be the go to person for any troubleshooting enquiries and you will need to record your observations for later data analysis. You will then go back to the office to write reports on the progress you are making and to work on the design phase for your next project.

Who to Work For

There are hundreds of employment opportunities around the world for agricultural engineers. Agricultural equipment manufacturers may want to get you on board, while consulting would allow you to go from farm to farm, helping as and when it is need. Alternatively, research institutions and universities often need agricultural engineers to work on big projects, as do government bodies and not-for-profits.

Going 100% Renewable

For many countries it is a dream, 100% electricity generated by renewable sources, and for some countries it is an entirely feasible reality. Whether or not it is feasible depends on many factors, political will being one but perhaps not the most determining factor. As renewable energy sources rely on natural characteristics such as terrain, rainfall, solar irradiation, and wind speed, it is difficult for many countries to become 100% renewable at present, without feasible energy storage capability.

Hydroelectricity is currently the best suited energy source for all types of loads presented on the grid as it can easily be scaled up and down based on consumption, with short lead-times. There are some countries and regions that are fortunate enough to have the natural resources and hydro-electricity infrastructure readily available for renewable energy on-demand.
Quebec in Canada is the most populous such region in which the provincial utility Hydro Quebec is able to supply over 95% of its electricity sourced from Hydro Electric sources. It should be mentioned, however, that Quebec does import energy from neigbouring provinces in order to meet its demand, whereby that energy is produced using non-renewable sources, so the province is not 100% renewable.

Paraguay’s electricity consumption only accounts for roughly 10% of all of the electricity that is generated in the country. Over 90% of electricity generated in Paraguay is exported, with almost 100% of that generation taking place in the country’s hydro-electric facilities. With a small diesel plant capable of performing limited balancing tasks and emergency reserve, Paraguay is the world’s most populous country to use 100% renewable energy.

Norway is Europe’s most oil-rich state, though hardly any of it is used for domestic energy consumption. 98% of Norway’s electricity is generated using renewable sources. Boasting some of the lowest energy costs in the world, plus the ability to export its fossil fuels has provided a lot of wealth for Norwegians.

There are other countries such as Costa Rica and Uruguay that also rely almost exclusively on Hydropower for their energy production and can achieve 90% and higher generation rates with Hydro; but some other, smaller countries are able to go 100% renewable using other sources of electricity. Iceland is able to get 28% of its electricity from Geothermal sources, and Tokelau in the pacific boasts a 100% solar electricity network for its population of 1400 residents.

Energy Career Profile: Clean Energy Researcher

In a world in the process of transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards green energy, there is no better time to join the clean energy workforce. As clean energy is a relatively new sector within the job market, it is sometimes difficult for people to know exactly what kind of jobs are out there and how to bag them.

This week we are going to take a look at the role of Clean Energy Researcher. For those who are interested in pursuing a career in the renewables sector, this might be the best thing you never knew existed.

The Basics of the Job

As a Clean Energy Researcher you will be responsible for finding new, innovative solutions to make our energy consumption cleaner. This means you will work with oil and gas companies, for example, and look into the ways in which they can reduce the amount of energy they use when they extract these resources from the ground. The need for energy is growing larger by the day so it is essential that we find sustainable ways to meet this demand.

As part of the job you may be required to travel to international conferences or to oil and gas sites to learn more about the different technologies that exist. Once you are fully informed as to what is out there, you will come back to the lab and apply your knowledge to your own company. If you can put all of this into practice you could save your company a lot of energy and money.

Ultimately, you will be reducing the environmental damage caused by extracting energy sources and you will be part of the team working towards increasing energy efficiency.

Job Duties

You are unlikely to have many days doing the same thing. Every day will present new challenges and opportunities. Generally, your job will consist of researching renewable technologies; preparing environmental impact statements; analysing energy demand; and keeping up to date with relevant environmental and energy issues.

Where You Will Be Working

Unlike many of the jobs on offer today, the role of Clean Energy Researcher will not limit you to just the office. In addition to the desk work you will be required to do, you will also do field visits to various extraction sites and you will spend time in the lab. Lab work will comprise the testing of new technologies among other things and this may prove to be the most exciting part of the job.

Who to Work For

If the idea of being a Clean Energy Researcher has piqued your interest then the next step to take is to find someone who is looking to employ such a person. Fortunately, the opportunities for employment in this role are numerous. Most government bodies need people in this position as do a number of non-profit organisations and public utility companies. Alternatively, you could follow a more corporate route and act for a consulting or engineering firm. Whatever you choose, you can be sure to have a solid career progression with plenty of great opportunities throw your way along the way.

How to Feel Fulfilled in Your Career

Millennials now take up a hefty portion of the job market and have very different priorities to the baby boomers that came before them. Job security and high salaries are far less important now than they were before. Nowadays, young people entering the workplace are looking for a sense of fulfilment. This intangible notion is much harder for companies to offer than a certain salary or a generous notice period. Free lunches and other perks are often dangled in front of promising millennials in exchange for their time, but that’s not enough.

At the end of the day, fulfilment comes from within and the only person that can give you true job satisfaction is yourself. But how do you do it? Here are some things you can do to push yourself towards feeling fulfilled in your career.

Do Something For Others

Perhaps the most important element of feeling fulfilled is to feel like you are doing something for someone else. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole life volunteering for an NGO. You can have a corporate job and still feel like you’re helping others. You might organise a work charity fundraiser, help on some pro bono work, or champion your company’s diversity scheme. Whatever it is, if it makes a difference to someone other than you, it will take you a step closer to fulfilment.

Opt For a Career With Progression Possibilities

Millennials crave change and challenges. We want to feel like we are constantly moving forward and reaching our full potential. Being stuck in a dead-end job, with no possibility of promotion or progress will suffocate you. You need to feel like you are on a ladder and every day you get closer to climbing the next rung. Fulfilment will come from feeling like you are progressing and not stagnating in the position you already have.

Don’t Take Your Work Home

It can be hard for some people to separate their work and home lives. If you are going home in the evenings and thinking about work then you have a problem. There is nothing wrong with loving your job, but you need to be able to leave it in the office. Stressing about your job after hours is a sure fire way to eventually hating it. If you need to work late, do it in the office and keep your home as a sanctuary where you can be free from work worries.

Don’t Let Money Make Your Decision For You

Big salaries can blindside you and it can be very hard to say no to them. But, ask yourself, “is this what I really want?” You might have convinced yourself superficially that you want that banking job with the big paycheck but is the money really going to make you happy if you are doing a job you hate? It might be hard to take the lower salary, but if it means doing a job that you will enjoy, then it will be worth every penny you didn’t make.

Top 7 Tips To Make This Academic Year Your Best Yet

As the new school year rolls around, it is time to start thinking about ways you can make this year your best yet. It is certainly challenging to say goodbye to the endless freedom of summer and knuckle down into study mode once again. But, it is a necessary evil so you might as well make it count. If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t make the most of an academic year and wish you had done better, now is the time to fix that. Here are seven tips that will make this academic year your best one yet.

1. Get Ahead From the Start

On day one, you should be typing up and consolidating the notes you make in your classes and lectures. Naturally, the temptation to put them in your bag and instantly forget about them straight after class is strong. At the end of a long day at school, the last thing you want to do is more work. But, if you get ahead now, you will thank yourself come exam time.

2. Get Into a Good Sleep Pattern

Try and get at least eight hours of sleep each night. This is really important, as it will keep you feeling awake and alert during the day and improve your concentration. You should also try and become an early riser. Waking up at seven or eight in the morning will give you more time in the day to get things done and make you feel more productive.

3. Strengthen Your Social Circle

When school and exam stress hits hard and you’re on the verge of a breakdown, it is really important to have a good group of friends to fall back on. Give yourself time to spend quality time with your friends. Just one or two close friends will make all the difference in your time of need.

4. Network

Nowadays, the job market is all about who you know. If you want to finish your studies and walk into your dream job, you are going to need to know people. Networking can introduce you to people who can give you invaluable advice for interviews and CV writing. They can also give you an insight into the career you’ve chosen and maybe even help you obtain it.

5. Read Around Your Subjects

If you want to get top marks in your exams, it is not enough simply to regurgitate what you learn in class. You need to read around your subjects. Spend some time in the library or online looking at academic journals that will enhance your understanding of what you are learning.

6. Organise Your Time Meticulously

A lot of people create revision timetables when it comes to exam time. But, there is no reason why you can’t do this all year round. Plan your days and allocate yourself time to study, socialise, and exercise. It may take a while to get it all planned out, but once it’s done, all you have to do is stick to it.

7. Think About the Future

It is easy to put off job hunting or thinking about your future. But, the honest truth is that it is never too early to start. Use your free time to get work or volunteering experience on your CV or to send off job applications. Even just visiting your careers advisor is a step in the right direction.

The benefits of an energy education

With so many different types of jobs in the energy sector, there are also many more university courses and programmes that can help you get a job in the sector. Having a professional certification geared specifically towards the energy sector can help boost your qualifications and give you the knowledge and skillset to thrive.

Taking courses and studying the core aspects of any industry can be beneficial, however, a knowledge of the energy industry allows for a great transference of skills to many other sectors. Energy is such a great part of our daily lives that a knowledge of the industry can help in many other fields such as urban planning, building design, but also finance and investing.

Knowing what influences the price of oil, or what to look out for regarding energy efficiency and energy saving technologies can give anyone a competitive advantage in many sectors. Supply chain management and logistics professions can also greatly benefit from an in-depth knowledge of the energy industry as everything from food to fuel prices is influenced by availability and the cost of energy resources.

The Global Energy Certification addresses many facets of the energy industry. Its modular approach means that participants in the programme can choose the areas of research they would like to focus on in whatever order they choose, based on applicability and interest. Though all areas are deemed to be known when it’s time to take the exam, the coursebooks form a valuable reference well past the certification.

In summary, there are many benefits to a course such as GEC, and few limits to who can and should participate.