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Cool jobs, green planet: Renewable energy pathways

Renewable energy pathways - main image

The revolution in renewable energy is boosting STEM jobs sky high

Studying renewable energy engineering is not just about securing a job; it’s about creating meaningful solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time.

Our energy sector is getting a major upgrade as we move towards a net-zero future. The demand for skilled professionals in STEM, particularly in engineering and IT, is set to soar as we navigate the complexities of transforming our energy systems. In fact, the clean energy workforce is expected to grow from 53,000 workers today to an estimated 84,000 by 2050.

Professor Zhenguo Huang, who heads up the UTS Hydrogen Energy Program, knows all about it. Australia is expected to become the largest net-exporter of low-emissions hydrogen by 2050, which in itself will create massive opportunities for business.

“As we move towards renewable energy, there will be new challenges in terms of new technologies, new types of businesses and how they operate. People will need to reskill or upskill to get ready for the future,” he says.

The shift towards a net-zero economy will be an unprecedented transformation that will bring with it not only challenges but also endless opportunities.

Real-world learning

Working in the renewable energy sector is far from your typical desk job; it’s about solving real-world challenges and making a difference. At UTS, diving into renewable energy engineering is about getting hands-on with groundbreaking technologies.

You’ll work on cutting-edge projects like designing next-gen electric vehicles or creating smart grids that make our cities super efficient. You’ll have the opportunity to work on concepts behind powering up entire communities with clean, sustainable energy, like the Sydney Science Park project in Western Sydney.

The Faculty of Engineering and IT works very closely with industry developing practical solutions,” Zhenguo says.

“In the third and fourth year, students have an opportunity to work on a capstone project, interact with industry partners and do an internship to apply what they have learnt directly to industry or community. There’s both hands-on experience and fundamental learning involved.”

The Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Renewable Energy and the accompanying Diploma of Professional Engineering Practice are tailor-made for individuals passionate about contributing to the sustainable future of our planet. These courses go beyond traditional engineering, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of renewable energy technologies, sustainable design principles, and the practical skills needed to innovate in this ever-evolving field.

Graduates from UTS are equipped to embark on diverse career paths that contribute directly to the transformation of our energy landscape. Opportunities include roles such as renewable energy engineer, power systems engineer on renewable projects, electric vehicle designer and energy policy development officer.

It’s more than just job prep though; it’s prepping you to lead the charge in the global effort to combat climate change.

Bright spark

Mohammad Mahbub Kabir, PhD candidate and research scholar

Growing up in Bangladesh, where unreliable power supply can cause power shortages, Mohammad Mahbub Kabir knows first-hand how important it is to create sustainable energy that doesn’t contribute to climate change.

“As a young scientist, I was inspired to find sustainable and innovative ways to create an energy transition that was beneficial to the environment and in preventing climate change,” he says. Now doing his PhD in

Environmental Engineering at UTS’s Faculty of Engineering and IT, he’s currently working at Gyeonsang National University, South Korea, as a visiting research scholar on advanced hydrogen energy research.

“My turning point was when I came to UTS and saw the technology and social resources that I could utilise to make my country more sustainable, which inspired me to enter this area of research, and I’m really passionate about renewables.”

Mahbub’s brilliant PhD research looks at how we might be able to produce green hydrogen energy and liquid fertiliser simultaneously from human urine using advanced technologies.

“In Bangladesh, we don’t have enough clean energy to use for hydrogen production, so we need to ensure the hydrogen economy is sustainable. Pure, fresh water for drinking and potable purposes is also scarce. Using impure water such as wastewater like human urine, we can efficiently produce green hydrogen and liquid fertiliser together.”

Ultimately, he hopes his research will make the energy system more secure in Bangladesh, and bring socioeconomic benefits to the world.

“Job opportunities in the renewables sector are booming. As a graduate, you don’t need to think about finding a job – the job will find you. There are a lot of big opportunities for engineering students not only in the hydrogen sector but also in solar, wind and other renewables in Australia.”

Renewable energy pathways: Employment opportunities

  • Green energy consultant
  • Power entrepreneur
  • Project manager
  • Business advisor
  • Engineer or analyst

Show me the money

Image: Andy Roberts
  • Electrical engineer
    Average: $79,468
  • Power systems engineer
    Average: $82,172
  • Power engineer
    Average: $90,000
  • Energy consultant
    Average: $76,000
  • Energy engineer
    Average: $80,500
  • Senior consultant, energy
    Average: $123,757
  • Energy analyst
    Average: $81,500

Renewable energy pathways: Skills needed

✔  Electrical engineering foundations

✔  Design of energy-efficient systems and emerging technologies

✔  Power system design and grid integration

✔  Electric vehicle technologies and battery storage

✔  Energy economics and policy

✔  Advanced materials for renewables

✔ Environmental planning

You can read more about all of these degrees and the career paths that go with them in Careers with STEM: Future Careers.

This post is brought to you in partnership with the UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT.


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