I guess the short answer to this question is “Yes!” – but that is just the opinion of this writer! For the long answer, let’s first look at what we think a good career choice should include. I think most people would agree that a good career choice should offer a number of different aspects like job security, opportunity for promotion and continuing education and personal development. And a healthy salary would top it off nicely!
What is Renewable Energy?
The phrase “Renewable Energy” can be used to refer to different things – although usually it’s used in the context of generating electricity from wind turbines and solar panels, which pop up in news bulletins from time to time. Another major renewable energy sector, hydroelectric power, has a long and prestigious history in the US. The very first hydroelectric dam in the US was built on the Fox River near Appleton, Wisconsin, which started providing power commercially as far back as 1882. Most people have heard of the famous Hoover Dam, on the border of Nevada and Arizona. This is a spectacular piece of hydroelectric engineering completed all the way back in 1935. Today, the largest hydro plant in the US is the Grand Coulee hydro dam on the Columbia River, Washington. This one plant generates 6,765 megawatts (MW). 7.3 percent of the country’s electricity generation is produced by hydroelectricity – almost as much as the 8.4% generated by wind turbines. The renewable energy industry also has other supporting industries, like energy storage, which are essential to enable a seamless transition to zero-carbon generation.
Why the Increase in Renewable Energy Use?
By far the most pressing environmental issue facing every country on the planet today is climate change. There is overwhelming agreement amongst the scientific community that global warming is being driven mostly by greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity – burning fossil fuels and pumping carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gasses into the atmosphere.
Reducing these emissions as quickly as possible is the overriding concern for energy sustainability as we look to increase global generation capacity in the long term. The political will to tackle this issue is strengthening in most developed nations, as highlighted by The Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change which was adopted by 196 parties in 2015.
The Paris Agreement aims to achieve a climate-neutral world by 2050. To do this, all participating countries have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions substantially to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
In the US, over recent years we have been seeing huge strides taken to increase our country’s renewable energy generation. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, renewable energy is the fastest growing energy sector in the US, increasing 42 percent in the decade 2010-2020. In 2020, renewables made up nearly 20 percent of all of the US utility-scale generation, meaning there is still huge scope for growth in this sector.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the US
Renewable energy is driving technological development across many sectors, and the US has a vibrant culture of scientific research and innovation placing the country firmly ahead of the game.
For example, spiral steel welding for taller wind turbine towers. Taller towers means the turbine can capture faster wind speeds, providing more efficient generation – increasing capacity without increasing footprint. Spiral welding also means less steel is needed, reducing costs and profitability.
With jobs right across the board from high-tech research and design, product development, steel working, manufacturing, logistics and much more, renewable energy is placed to start a bright new chapter in US energy generation.
So is Renewable Energy a Good Career Choice?
It is a secure career choice for sure – as the world continues to transition away from fossil fuels, the sector will only continue to grow.
It is an ethical career choice – helping to make the environment a cleaner place for every living thing on the planet also carries ‘hidden’ health benefits as well. It is also a career choice for innovation – with new developments in technology and science research happening all the time, we are finding new ways to harness the power of the sun, the wind and the waves.
The sector also brings financial benefits for the whole country– research shows that by 2030, the entire renewables sector in the US could realistically scale up by 27%, saving the US economy as much as 140 billion USD per year, when factoring in the benefits of improved health and lower CO2 emissions.
At Mackinnon & Partners, people are our success, and we want you to achieve your success. We aim to provide first class candidates to a variety of emerging and established markets with a wealth of knowledge in the renewables, oil and gas, and construction industries both on and offshore.
Contact us to learn more about how you can advance your career or find world-class talent to add to your organization. We aim to give clients a seamless and hassle-free recruitment process with the right candidate presented the first time.