Mining, Energy & Utilities
Energy engineers are involved in the production of energy through natural resources, and from renewable or sustainable sources of energy.
What does an Energy Engineer do?
Energy engineers are involved in the production of energy through natural resources, such as the extraction of oil and gas, as well as in the design and construction of power plants that generate energy from from renewable or sustainable sources, including biofuels, hydro, wind and solar power. Energy engineers might also be known as renewable energy engineers.
As an energy engineer, you might:
- be part of a team that researches, designs and builds new renewable energy technologies or new generating sites
- carry out lab experiments and adapt them to industrial processes
- use mathematical and computer models to complete design and specification calculations
- prepare detailed work schedules, feasibility studies and cost estimates
- check ground and site conditions for the best locations for installations like wind turbines or large solar panel installations
- make sure site operations meet environmental standards
- analyse and improve site costs and efficiencies
- monitor new technologies and develop and report on performance standards
- make sure systems and processes comply with legislation and environmental standards
- keep up to date with advances in renewable and alternative technologies.
Key skills and interests
To become an energy engineer, you would need:
- an interest in engineering and new technologies
- a committment to environmental sustainability
- problem-solving ability
- excellent mathematical and computer skills
- the ability to manage projects, including both physical and people resources
- good financial and budgeting skills
- strong communication and teamworking skills.
Working hours and conditions
You would normally work a standard number of hours, Monday to Friday. If you worked on a site such as a wind farm or offshore drilling platform you could work on a shift basis which could include nights and weekends.
Onshore work is mainly in offices and laboratories, with time spent visiting sites. Some jobs may involve travel and long stays away from home.
How to become an Energy Engineer?
Entry Level Education
To become an energy engineer you usually have to complete a degree in engineering. You might focus on mining and petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering or chemical engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia.
Employment of energy engineers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Job growth is expected because of potential increasing use of alternative and renewable power sources. Energy engineers will be needed to design and monitor renewable energy power generation plants, such as the turbines on wind farms.