Jobs in renewable energy have been becoming more prevalent in recent years as the push for moving away from fossil fuels continues to gain support. Renewable energy can be divided into two general categories that include the generation of renewable heat and the generation of renewable electricity.

In the U.K, specifically in the middle of the 1990s, renewable energy began to contribute to the generation of electricity. This added to the small hydro-electric generating capacity that was already in existence.

Of all the electricity that was generated in the U.K in 2012, renewable electricity sources were responsible for around eleven percent. In accordance with the 2009 EU Renewable Directive, the U.K intends to utilise renewable energy contributions in order to meet the target of fifteen percent reduction in energy consumption by the year 2020.

Due to these new U.K. and EU targets for reduction in carbon emissions, the U.K. has seen increased interest in renewable energy. Commercial incentives like the Renewable Obligation Certificate scheme (ROCs) and the Feed-in tariffs (FITs) have helped to promote renewable electricity power generation. Renewable heat generation has been promoted through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Wind power schemes have surpassed hydroelectric schemes for producing renewable electricity in the U.K.

What does this mean for jobs in renewable energy?

Whether a recent graduate or an experienced person transitioning from a different sector, job candidates will find ample opportunity in the areas of renewable energy. The roles that are available range widely and are intended for enthusiastic individuals.

The projects may require a variety of skills. Job candidates for positions in this field can find employment in areas that range from research and development to construction and maintenance. The natural, clean power in the UK is derived from the abundant sources of waves, tides, and the wind that surround the country. This type of natural energy will not run out like the dwindling sources of fossil fuels.

Furthermore, the switch to renewable energy sources is essential for protecting the natural environment for future generations. The UK’s renewable energy sources can be characterised as follows:

  • Onshore wind

This is the most mature renewable energy source in the U.K and it is also the most cost-effective. The mix of UK energy is expected to continue to include this very affordable and clean source.

  • Offshore wind

Since October 2008, the UK has been the leader in this source of renewable energy.  Britain has as much capacity installed already for offshore wind as does the entire world combined.

  • Small and medium wind

Individuals can generate energy with wind turbines to reduce energy bills and even to make some money while also helping the environment.

  • Wave and tidal energy

Modern technology is able to harness the immense power of the pull of the tides as well as the movement of the waves. The costs for this renewable energy source are coming down relatively quickly as technologies are developed.  

This means that harnessing wave and tidal energy is becoming a real commercial option for producing renewable energy.  This will surely become one of the sources that will contribute to the target of thirty percent renewable energy by the year 2020.

Job functions in renewable energy.

As the industry surrounding renewable energy continues to grow, so will the need for job candidates. These jobs will be available in research and development and manufacture, technical analysis, construction and installation, and operations and maintenance.

  • Research and development and production

Scientists, mechanical and electrical engineers and other technical experts are the fields which spur the exciting and new developments and other innovations in renewable energies. While these experts working for renewable energy companies are the innovators, it is the production sector which draws from all levels of technicians.

  • Technical analysis

This sector includes marine scientists and aerodynamicists, environmental analysts, data analysts, software developers, and GIS technicians.  Renewable energy facilities would not exist without people working in these jobs to develop, construct, and operate the facilities.

  • Construction and installation

Civil engineering, general construction skills, cabling, site management, contract management, and project management are all significant components of construction and installation.  Particularly challenging is the offshore work that involves the marine environment and working off turbines and vessels.

  • Operations and maintenance

Essential to this part of the renewable energy sector are skills relating to engineering, experience in grid connections, electricity generation, and actual physical inspection and maintenance of facilities.