Renewable energy in Australia includes wind power, hydroelectricity, solar, heat pumps, geothermal, wave and solar thermal energy. With Australia set to get 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, thousands of new jobs are set be created in this industry sector.
Careers in this industry include research and development, the design, engineering, manufacturing, construction, installation and maintenance of solar systems.
What type of person would this job suit?
- Communication, leadership and management skills are important in this industry as lots of work is project-based
- A good grasp of maths, technology and engineering would be an advantage
- Having a practical mind and the ability to understand and use a number of tools would be necessary in lots of roles
- A good work ethic and great teamwork skills would be required to complete projects by deadlines
- Being a problem solver and managing your own workload effectively is important, especially for those working out in the field
Industries recruiting renewable energy workers:
- Financial – analysts and advisors
- Construction, roofing and cement masons
- Science – Environmental research and development, atmospheric & space, conservation, geoscientists,
- System software development
- Urban and regional planning
Whether you’d like to be a part of the renewable energy movement because you’re looking for good job prospects and security, or you’d like to make a difference to world by helping to reduce the impacts of climate change – there’s plenty of opportunities within this growing sector.
Entry into some careers may require a Bachelors degree, particularly if they’re highly specialised.
Studying Renewable Energy Engineering (Honours) at UNSW could qualify you to apply for jobs designing, installing and operating renewable energy generating systems such as wind, solar, biomass or hydro systems. Or perhaps you’d rather design and construct energy efficient buildings.
If University isn’t for you, then a Certificate from a registered training organisation might open the doors to a career you’re interested in. After starting work, you can always return to study at uni (full time or part time) if you’d like to specialise further.
Obtaining a Certificate (II, III or IV) in Renewable Energy or similar are examples of further studies that could help you find employment in this sector or go on to do more studies.
No formal qualifications required
Bioenergy and biofuel farmers harvest biomass (e.g. crop stubble, grasses, animal waste and trees) either as a direct crop or a by-product. The biomass is then converted to electricity and other fuel sources via combustion and fermentation processes. They might also use their land to install solar and wind generated power plants.
Whilst there’s no formal qualification requirements, you’d need farm management skills which you could get from working with experienced farmers or through formal avenues such as a VET, TAFE, university or agricultural colleges.
The average salary for a farmer is $56,00 per year (Indeed.com based on 145 salaries submitted anonymously), and the average Farm Worker salary is $23.58 per hour.
Certificate III / IV + apprenticeship
Assemble, install and maintain Photovoltic (PV or solar) panels for residential or commercial projects.
In this role you could expect to earn AU$40,936 – AU$80,719 per year depending on your qualifications and experience.
Wind-turbine Fabricator, Installer, Operator
Certificate III / IV
Required to make, install, set up, service, and fix the turbines that generate electricity, as well as the set-up of power distribution systems.
Depending on which area you work in (fabrication, engineering or operations) you could be earning between AU$51,289 – AU$136,846 per year.
Renewable Energy Engineer
Involved in research and development, or the design hydroelectric dams, solar cells and wind turbines. They also engineer the systems that carry the electricity from the wind farm, dam or solar field to the power plant. With so many applications and specialities to choose from this could be a career path that you could develop and change all the time.
Project Engineers in this field can expect to earn a basic $75,000 per year and more with experience and specialisations.
Growth in this industry is strong and expected to remain so.