Sustainable Energy and Engineers
The green movement is increasing pressure on governments and industry alike to develop efficient renewable energy sources. Engineers play a crucial role in the development and implementation of these sustainable energy sources.
In a conscious effort to minimize the use of fossil fuels that are harmful to our environment, we are moving towards a greater reliance on re-useable energy sources including solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric. The growth of these areas has increased job opportunities for both recent graduates and experienced engineers.
The falling costs of materials and new technologies have resulted in great growth for solar energy, making it one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.[i] Many are opting to incorporate solar panels into their projects not only for the positive impact on the environment but also due to the reduction in monthly energy bills, potential government subsidies and tax incentives. Solar engineers plan, design and implement solar panel systems for projects ranging from home-owners’ rooftop installations to major city projects.
Large wind turbines harness wind power to produce electricity for utilities. This is a growing area, with the Canadian Wind Energy Association noting that wind energy infrastructure installation outpaced all other energy projects between 2006 to 2017.[ii] Wind engineers focus on the design of turbines and wind farms, rotor blades, electrical systems and overall energy production. Due to the complexity of wind turbines, to construct efficient wind farms, wind engineers rely on the assistance of aerospace, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial and mechanical engineers.
Unlike solar and wind energies, geothermal energy is available 365 days a year, as it is created from the heat from the earth’s surface.[iii] The energy is predominately generated in the United States and Iceland, with geothermal heat pumps that can tap into the earth’s surface to provide enough energy to heat and cool buildings.[iv] Geothermal engineers are responsible for creating the processes and equipment that converts this heat into renewable energy.
Hydropower is the oldest large-scale system for generating electricity.[v]
As hydropower accounts for 63% of Canadian’s electricity,[vi] hydropower engineers play an essential role in providing the electricity we use on a daily basis. Hydropower engineers are responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and production of hydropower facilities such as river dams. These engineers look for ways to modernize older hydropower technologies, making them more efficient while minimizing the impact on the environment.
As concerns about climate change and global warming continue to grow, greater pressure is placed on engineers to design and implement new and efficient ways to harvest sustainable energies.
To learn more about these renewable energy sources, or to start your career in a sustainable engineering field contact Adecco today!
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