Are you considering a career in renewable energy? It's a huge, fast moving and exciting field. Whilst Introducing Renewable Energy is not specifically aimed at professionals already working in the field of renewable energy, it provides a great introduction into the subject and allows you to identify whether it is an industry you may want to consider for your own career.
Renewable energy can revolutionise our world. It genuinely can help us get off our addiction to fossil fuels. Combine renewable energy with the new generation of electric cars (I drive one, they’re great) and we have the opportunity to significantly reduce our carbon impact on the world and create a better world for our children.
I finished writing Introducing Renewable Energy sitting on a research ship in the middle of the Baltic Sea. I was part of a team investigating the potential for installing the world's largest wind-farm, with over twice the capacity of any other wind farm in the world. If the project goes ahead, it will provide enough energy to eliminate the need for any fossil fuel power plant from Sweden's energy mix within four years.
Yet my own personal journey into renewable energy was far more modest. Deciding on a career break a decade ago, I trained as a wind turbine installation technician, installing tiny wind turbines onto houses on behalf of a national DIY chain. The training was a farce: we were told wind turbines could be installed virtually anywhere on a roof-top and were given inadequate equipment for testing or evaluating a site. The results were appalling: not only did the turbines not generate anywhere near as much electricity as claimed, in some cases they did not even generate enough electricity to power their own control equipment! Disillusioned, I looked into what was going wrong and was horrified to find out that these sorts of installations were virtually guaranteed to fail. I decided that if I was going to work in this industry, I was going to do it properly. I went back to University and trained as a renewable energy engineer.
Since then, I have worked on giant wind turbine projects, even larger hydro-electric systems, and micro power generation with solar and wind. I've worked on a research project into tidal energy and I've designed a solar energy system to provide electricity to entire African communities. It's an endlessly changing industry, and one that I have found immensely rewarding and exciting to work in.