Energy engineer

renewable energy engineer
Engineering
Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would design and construct sites to generate energy from the wind, sun and water. You could also drill for and extract gas and oil.

You would research, design and oversee construction of power generation plants that use renewable and sustainable natural resources, such as:

  • Water to generate hydro power
  • Sunlight to produce solar power
  • Plants or plant materials to generate biomass power
  • Wind power

You could also be involved in drilling for gas and oil.

You would use mathematical and computer models to research and design new generating sites.

Depending on the type of project you work on, you could decide on the best locations for installations like wind farms, solar panels or hydropower plants. Or you might plan and oversee a production programme for sites like drilling platforms or hydroelectric plants.

You would:

  • Manage and coordinate teams of technicians or site workers
  • Design and select the equipment needed at the site
  • Make sure the site meets environmental standards such as carbon reduction targets
  • Analyse the costs of running the site and improve its efficiency
  • Assess new and current processes to make the site as productive as possible
  • Do laboratory experiments to develop large-scale industrial processes

You would work with other professionals such as geologists, geophysicists and specialist contractors.

Working conditions

Hours

Your working hours and patterns could vary depending on the kind of work you do. In office-based design or research jobs you could work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you worked on a site such as an offshore wind farm or drilling platform you could work on a shift basis which could include nights and weekends.

Environment

You could work on a site such as an offshore wind farm or drilling platform. Onshore work is mainly in offices and laboratories, with some time spent out visiting sites.

Travel

Some jobs may involve international travel and long stays away from home.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Using computers
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Solving mathematical problems
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and organising
  • Working with numbers

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need a degree (SCQF Level 9/10) in an engineering or a scientific subject.

Some employers may also expect you to have a relevant postgraduate qualification (SCQF Level 11).

Relevant subjects could include:

  • Energy engineering
  • Renewable energy technologies
  • Sustainable energy
  • Petroleum engineering,
  • Environmental science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Chemical engineering

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND. To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF Level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects, in particular physics (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCQF Level 5).

Employers value work experience so finding courses with work placements or an internship, or working for a year in industry can be especially useful.

A foreign language can be helpful if you want to work for an international company.

Once qualified, applying for chartered status can improve your career prospects. Depending on your qualifications you may decide to apply for Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Scientist (CSci) or Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status with the Energy Institute.