Why work in renewable energies?
It's safe to say the energy sector is an exciting one to be part of at the moment, with unprecedented levels of growth and development shaking up the way organisations are doing business. One of the most significant growth areas over the past decade has been that of renewable energy, which has grown from what some may describe as a grass-roots movement to a global industry that is projected to be worth US$777.6 billion by 2019.
The benefits of renewable energy from a consumer and environmental point of view are myriad - from the 'clean, green' ideology and production of sustainable energy sources that won't run out through to the economic benefits regions receive when they undertake major renewable energy projects - but what about from the perspective of organisations and individuals working within the industry?
The industry continues to grow – which means more jobs
The renewables industry has experienced rapid growth in recent times, some of which has occurred despite falling investment. According to the UN Environment Programme and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2016 saw an 8% global increase in renewable capacity built, even though investment fell by 23%. This is thanks largely to the sharp decline in the cost of renewable projects, with the cost of new offshore wind projects generating energy from 2022 projected to be 50% lower than 2015 figures.
The addition of renewables made up 55% of all new electricity generation capacity last year, according to this report, and was comprised of wind, solar, biomass and waste-to energy sources along with geothermal, small hydro and marine energy.
This wide variety of renewable energy sources is testament to the huge number of opportunities within renewables. Gone are the days when working in renewables only meant building a windfarm – now, renewables professionals are as likely to work in commissioning for energy-to-waste projects as they are to oversee a marine renewable energy technology plant. And such diversity of renewable energies has led to significant technological advances, which means those who work in the industry are often working with the latest cutting-edge products and developments.
With renewable energy continuing to thrive, so too does job creation. Within Great Britain alone, a recent competitive auction for renewable technologies saw 11 new energy projects confirmed, worth a huge £176m per year. This investment will see the creation of thousands of jobs across Wales, the Scottish Highlands and West Midlands, not to mention ultimately producing more renewable energy for British homes as we edge closer to a low carbon future. As of 2015, there were 234,000 full-time equivalent workers employed in low carbon and renewable energy activities, and as more projects are approved for funding, we expect to see more contract and permanent opportunities for this ever-evolving sector.
You can make a real impact
Many of those who work within renewables do so on a contract basis, due to the project-based nature of the work. This allows renewables workers the chance to not only experience different sites and locations, but rapidly upskill and potentially advance their career more quickly. You may have the chance to work alongside industry-leading technology and talent on any given project, which can be very beneficial for your own professional development. As the sector is still emerging, there's a real need for skilled and qualified workers, giving you a great advantage when it comes to selecting contracts.
On top of these career opportunities, the renewables industry gives you the chance to contribute to the production of new, clean energy sources that are ultimately helping to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. What's not to like?
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