Considering a career in Renewable Energy?

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.

I wrote this book with my own history in mind. I wish that I had been able to read a good introduction into renewable energy before I decided to get involved in the industry. Had I done so, I would never have made the mistakes I did. I would have saved myself a lot of time and anguish.

Introducing Renewable Energy unashamedly focuses on small scale renewable energy systems. Whilst it does talk about large scale systems, it's core market are people looking at smaller scale systems - amateurs, students, architects and farmers. However, by focusing on small scale systems, it can describe the end-to-end set up of a renewable energy system. It won't go into the heavy engineering or the wind loading or discuss the complexities of integrating with power grids at an industrial scale, but it will give you an appreciation of the overall technology and understand a little more about how we can harness our natural environment to generate power.

There is a huge amount of knowledge that goes into renewable energy systems. Whilst studying for my renewable energy engineering degree almost a decade ago, I read about sixty books, some over a thousand pages long. It took me three years to learn the basics… then I went out into the real world and really started to learn. Ten years on, I am still learning. And I'm enjoying every minute.

So consider Introducing Renewable Energy as your first book. The book you read to get an overview and to help you decide if you want to go further.

If you are considering renewable energy as a career for yourself, there are plenty of ways to move forward. You can train as an installation technician for one of the renewable technologies. Both wind and large-scale solar farms are on the increase and there are always openings for ambitious technicians with experience in electrics and mechanical engineering, or with the aptitude to learn. Many Universities now do degrees in renewable energy engineering or related subjects. The wind turbine market in particular is growing and is likely to be a good source of employment for many years to come. There is a huge amount of money being spent on renewable energy research and battery storage projects too, with openings for scientists, designers and engineers. It is an exciting industry to be a part of.

Whilst I am British, I have travelled and worked all around the world, including in the United States of America, Canada, India, Italy, France and currently in Sweden. Consequently, I have ensured that the information in this book is relevant, wherever you live. All measurements are shown in both metric and imperial measurements, and where there is country-specific information, whether it is for the United Kingdom, the United States or elsewhere, this is clearly marked as such.

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