Australia is an energy-rich country, producing three times the amount of energy we need. While 63% of our energy is generated by burning coal, renewable energy sources are everywhere, from the heat seeping out from below the Earth’s surface to the energy produced by our tides and oceans.
“Renewables have only scratched the surface of their full potential,” says Dr Sven Teske, research director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.
There are hundreds of science-based renewables career paths to choose from. You could become an expert in acoustics to help reduce wind turbine noise. Or, join a company like Wave Swell Energy, which converts the energy in ocean waves into clean electricity. Like renewable energy itself, the career options are limitless.
Sven believes that while “solar and wind technologies will dominate renewable energy over the coming decades”, water and geothermal energy are also hot topics.
“Once you have found your source of motivation, I am sure the renewable industry will find a way to benefit from your individual skills,” Sven adds. – Ben Skuse
Take your skills OS
University of Sydney student Zarif Aziz travelled to Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, to intern for engineering startup Okra Solar during his winter holidays. Okra Solar builds solar energy sharing networks to give remote villages access to clean, cheap and reliable electricity.
“From week one, I had my chance to make an impact by building and testing several Okra controllers so that they were ready to deploy in the villages,” Zarif says.
Environmental scientist: $50K–$96K
R&D manager: $58K–$140K
Sustainability manager: $76K–$154K
*Source: salaries according to payscale.com
Author: Ben Skuse
Ben Skuse is a UK-based former mathematician turned professional science writer, who has written for the Careers with STEM magazines for over 5 years. You can follow him on Twitter @BenSkuseSciComm.