Careers in Wind Energy
Many types of expertise are required to complete wind energy projects. Here are a few examples of related careers:
- Utility engineers
- Geophysical engineers
- Concrete/structural engineers
- Turbine engineering: mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, aerospace engineers
- Site/civil engineers
- Turbine technicians
- Microelectronic/computer programmers
- Business/financial experts
- Legal experts
- Meteorologists (to forecast wind)
- Transportation logistics experts
- Environmental consultants.
Although many jobs in wind energy require a mechanical, computer, or electrical engineering background, other available jobs in the industry require business, science, public policy, communications, or even liberal arts backgrounds.
There is currently a high demand for wind turbine technicians, design engineers, proposal writers, construction managers, large load transportation specialists, utility program managers, and many more. According to ScienceCareers.org, the five most important topics in wind energy research are:
- Turbine research: involves research to improve turbine design (aerodynamics), understanding the nature of wind (inflow and turbulence), and using computer models to design efficient and low-cost turbines (modeling structures and dynamics).
- Wind resource assessment: provides maps of a country or state/province that includes specific wind data such as average wind speed and its variability
- Forecasting: uses weather models (e.g., Doppler radar) to predict wind speeds and patterns at various altitudes. Old data are used to predict how the wind will behave
- Utility grid integration: integrates the energy produced by wind into a utility grid. New techniques and models will ensure that grid operators can manage variable-output technologies like wind and solar with maximum efficiency
- Energy storage: uses technology to store wind energy as electricity. Methods include converting it to chemical energy (like hydrogen) and using flywheels.
- American Wind Energy Association: Careers in Wind
- KidWind Project: Wind Energy Colleges and Careers
- NEED Project: Career Currents
- U.S. Department of Energy: Wind Energy Education and Training Programs
- U.S. Department of Energy: Wind Power Career Chat
- U.S. Department of Energy: Clean Energy Jobs and Career Planning