Renewable energy engineer
Energy engineers research, design and build power generation plants, and work in the oil and gas industry.
Salary range: £20,000 to £80,000
How to become an energy engineer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
You can do a degree in an engineering or a scientific subject. Some employers may expect you to have a postgraduate qualification.
Relevant subjects include:
- mining or petroleum engineering
- energy engineering
- Earth sciences
- environmental engineering
- renewable or sustainable energy
If you’re interested in postgraduate research and want to continue your studies up to PhD level, you may be able to apply for a course like an EngD.
These courses are offered by the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy. You would be sponsored by a company to research offshore technologies for wind, wave and tidal power.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You may be able to start by doing a degree apprenticeship in power or nuclear engineering.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- maths knowledge
- analytical thinking skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- researching and designing new generating sites
- deciding on the best locations for sites
- planning and overseeing production programmes for sites
- managing and coordinating teams of technicians or site workers
- designing and selecting equipment
- meeting environmental standards, like carbon reduction targets
- finding the most cost efficient and productive processes
- carrying out laboratory experiments
- converting experiments into large-scale industrial processes
- working with geologists, geophysicists and specialist contractors
- managing projects and budgets
You could work at a power station, in an office, in a laboratory or on a rig.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into planning, policy development, or freelance consultancy.