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Big wind energy: Tech careers in renewable energy

Tech careers in renewable energy

The latest renewable energy boom is set to create new tech careers

Do you fancy a life at sea, but want to do something a bit more interesting than a glorified waiter on a cruise ship? Tech careers in renewable energy could be just the ticket!

A new industry taking off around the world is about to explode in Australia, and it’s already hoovering up every talented body it can find: offshore wind. 

Australia is about to say yes to its very first offshore wind projects this year, which will be in Victoria, and then others will follow in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.

But there is a problem. Australia has no skilled offshore wind experts. That means there’s huge scope for a new cohort of graduates to get their start in an industry with truly global legs: almost all of the companies looking at Australia are international, so learning the industry at home could lead to a career around the world.

Tech careers in renewable energy

The jobs span all kinds from naval architects right through to sea captains, but some of the most interesting ones are in tech: think underwater drone operators and animators who can bring undersea maps to life.

“Spatial data technologies will be important for ongoing environmental assessments, while programmers and developers who have skills in virtual reality and augmented reality will be critical in developing the technology that can assist with maintenance for offshore wind,” says Carolyn Sanders, head of operations at Flotation Energy, a UK company that’s getting set up in Australia.

Software developers, programmers, and data managers are in demand as people who can  develop digital twin models of offshore wind farms, or design machine learning algorithms so they can be controlled remotely. People who understand data and data security will also be very important, as the national security of energy generation becomes more critical.

Anyone from a range of disciplines who can use geospatial technologies such as GIS mapping or operate drones will be essential, covering jobs as diverse as environmental management to logistical modelling – because figuring out the logistics of getting an almost 300m tall turbine from port to its new home in the ocean is not a job for the faint hearted.

And there then are the sustainability professionals, who are in hot demand to ensure the carbon footprint of building an offshore wind farm is as low as possible, using every AI and tech tool to monitor the reuse of materials, ethical sourcing of equipment, and waste reduction.

This story first appeared in Careers with STEM: Technology 2023.

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