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Jobs In Alternative Energy and Renewable Energy Careers

The Future Of Green Jobs In North America

There is no doubt that some of the hottest jobs in the coming decades will be in renewable energy and energy conservation. Wind energy jobs, solar panel installer jobs and other renewable energy jobs will be in high demand. The Obama administration has pledged billions of dollars for renewable energy in the form of project tax credits and subsidies. The beneficiaries of that money will be solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and home energy efficiency among many others.

How do you prepare yourself for a career in alternative energy? The first step is to choose a career path that suits you. If you are adventurous you might consider working as a wind turbine repairman. If you love the outdoors and building you might want to consider becoming a solar panel installer. If you love operating heavy machinery consider becoming a crane operator who erect on wind turbines.

The number of jobs in alternative energy is incredible, even today. There are many construction type jobs related to building wind farms and solar installations. There are chemistry jobs in alternative energy in the biofuels industry. There are jobs for all skill levels in renewable and alternative energy.

 

Wind Energy Jobs                        Turbines at the New Mexico Wind Energy Center

The United States will soon become the world leader in wind energy. Currently states like Texas that are blessed with lots of constant wind lead the way in clean wind energy. The Horse Hollow wind farm in Nolan county is currently the world's largest wind farm with a capacity of over 740 Megawatts. Wind energy investor T. Boone Pickens plans to build an ever bigger wind farm near Pampa, Texas. Land leasing and construction are already underway on this and a couple dozen other projects across the western part of the state.

In New Mexico governor Bill Richardson has pledged more state support for wind energy projects. All of this means more and more wind energy jobs. Wind energy jobs range from crane operators in turbine erection, turbine repair technicians that climb the high towers and maintain them, to welders and electrician in site construction. One of the leading wind energy job training programs is at Mesalands College in New Mexico where they have started the  North American Wind Research and Training Center  For those considering jobs in the wind energy the program provides a broad based education in all aspects of turbine design, placement, maintenance, transport, etc.

Solar Energy Jobs

As part of the economic stimulus package the federal government has renewed the thirty percent tax credit and increased the amount that homeowners can apply it to. This is good news for solar jobs.

There are many types of solar energy jobs. In the area of home solar there are jobs installing PV panels on home roofs. The solar PV industry typically hires both roofers and electricians to oversee the job. For those with construction skills or a journeyman electrician's license the field of solar panel installation is worth checking out, especially as states and local electric utilities offer more subsidies.  Sierra College in Rocklin, California is offering a new alternative energy study program in fall of 2009.

In addition to solar PV panel installation jobs there are solar jobs installing hot water heating systems that are used for residential hot water, pool heating and home heating. Solar hot water companies typically hire journeyman plumbers along with skilled laborers, roofers and electricians. The same thirty percent rebate that the federal government renewed for solar PV systems applies to solar hot water heaters. We should see phenomenal growth in this sector in the coming decade. It will be a hot source of solar energy jobs.

Large Scale Solar Plant Jobs

Thermal Solar Power Generation Plant

Other solar energy jobs will include large solar electricity generation plant construction jobs. Currently a number of large scale solar power generation projects are either underway or being planned in states like Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Solar power plants will be both photovoltaic and thermal. Photovoltaic large solar power plants will require skilled electricians and general construction workers as well as project managers, plant managers and maintenance workers when the plants are up and running. Thermal solar power plants will provide solar jobs that include pipefitting, welding, machinist jobs, electrical and general construction worker positions.

Other Alternative Energy Jobs

Besides wind and solar there will be alternative energy jobs in geothermal. Geothermal energy jobs will employ drilling rig crews and drillers to drill test holes and geothermal production wells, as well as pipe fitters, welders and all jobs associated with building a large scale power plant. There are a dozen or so large geothermal projects underway in states like Nevada where the resource is abundant.

In addition to geothermal energy jobs there will be jobs created in the biofuels industry. New technology such as algal biodiesel, which uses algae to produce oil from waste material and CO2, promises to provide "green petroleum". As cellulosic ethanol, which is made from waste wood, grass and plant matter instead of valuable corn, becomes more viable there will be new ethanol plants build, providing green jobs for plant workers and construction workers.

Chances are there are green jobs near where you live. You just may not recognize them. Energy efficiency, such as installing attic insulation and weatherization jobs are green jobs. Depending on where you are in your career path you may want to consider switching to a career in renewable energy or energy efficiency, or taking courses in alternative energy at a school like one of the ones mentioned in this article. Alternative energy will be one of the hottest career paths you can choose for the next decade. If you found this site helpful, please "like us" on Facebook, etc, or forward it to your friends here: Bookmark and Share

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