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What Does a Renewable Energy Engineer Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Images By: Aania, n/a, William Warby, Harvey Barrison
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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A renewable energy engineer works for an energy company. Some engineers primarily handle maintenance at power production plants, while other engineers are engaged in developing new ways to produce renewable energy. In many nations, governments encourage new firms as well as existing energy producers to concentrate on renewable energy production in order to reduce green house emissions and other forms of pollution that are synonymous with fossil fuels. Energy engineer jobs were once mainly found at universities and companies involved exclusively in research, but these jobs are becoming increasingly common at major energy firms.

Prior to seeking employment as a renewable energy engineer an individual must first attain a college degree in engineering, although some companies require job applicants to have a degree that specifically focuses on green or renewable energy. People who earn renewable energy degrees learn the basics of engineering as well as many aspects of science, including chemistry and physics, that could prove useful in the energy field. Some students also obtain Masters degrees (MAs) that are focused on a particular type of renewable energy, such as solar power or hydro-electric energy.

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Both small and large firms hire college graduates to work as researchers. In many nations, governments provide grants to companies that attempt to find ways to make renewable energy more accessible to consumers and small businesses. Many small firms concentrate on developing energy producing technology that consumers can use in their own homes, such as solar panels or bio fuel generators. A renewable energy engineer engaged in research must try to develop new technologies that are both easy to use and operate but also will be inexpensive enough for large numbers of consumers and businesses to buy.

Major energy firms hire large numbers of engineers to produce renewable energy on a large scale so that the firm can arrange new energy producing contracts with governments and communities. Engineers working for such firms must design and develop wind farms and dams that require substantial amounts of funding from the government and the private sector and often take many years to complete. Teams of engineers are normally lead by a veteran renewable energy engineer who oversees the project.

Pay scales for renewable engineers vary enormously. Some colleges recruit post-graduate students to work as part-time researchers, and these individuals often receive free tuition or a small allowance to cover their basic living costs. Engineers who work on major projects for multinational companies are often among the highest earners in the energy fields and are aggressively recruited by employers from all over the world.

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