All You Should Know About Energy Engineering

Energy Engineering is a new yet exciting and unique field of engineering. Energy engineers not only deal with the design and development of efficient technologies to produce energy but they also devise methods to minimize the overall energy consumption and costs by optimizing systems.

What is Energy Engineering?

Energy Engineering
Energy Engineering, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Energy engineering (also known as energy systems engineering) is a new and broad field of engineering which deals with renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and management, energy audit and environmental compliance.

Energy engineers may specialize in electrical systems; HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems; green buildings; lighting; air quality; or energy procurement. They use the principles of engineering and economics as well as soft skills needed to solve practical problems in the energy industry ranging from production to processing, storage, distribution, and consumption of energy.

Energy engineers design and develop renewable energy systems (such as wind or solar photovoltaic power plants). Energy engineers are involved in projects to increase energy efficiency and decrease energy consumption, thus reducing overall costs. They do so by designing, building, auditing, or remodeling existing energy systems or energy procurement methods.

Energy engineering is a very flexible discipline. Energy engineers not only work with industries focusing on renewable or sustainable sources of energy such as hydro, biofuels, wind and solar power but they are also employed in other industries such as in oil and gas extraction industry.

The main job of energy engineers is to find the most efficient and sustainable ways for the operation of buildings and manufacturing processes. Energy engineers monitor and analyze the use of energy in those processes and propose ways to tweak and optimize the systems or replace them with more efficient ones. Energy consumption minimization is the key purpose of this discipline.

Energy Engineering Facts and Statistics

Energy Engineering Facts and Statistics
Energy Engineering Facts and Statistics, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

According to IRENA’s first Global Renewables Outlook, boosting investment in renewables would increase jobs in the energy sector to 42 million globally by 2050 — 4 times more than today. Top tech companies such as Google and Amazon are investing billions in the renewable energy industry. Moreover, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE are among those countries which make huge investments in the renewable energy sector. These investments create opportunities for the aspiring energy engineers as new jobs are being created in order to drive this revolution.

Energy engineering jobs are in high demand as the Mean Entry-Level salary for an energy engineer is $69,280 (according to Glassdoor) and the Mean Annual salary is $ $99,410 and the Top 10 Percent salary is over $100,000 per year.

Energy engineers take some courses of both electrical and mechanical engineering but it’s a different field of study. Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) is the official society of energy engineers and professionals.

What skills do energy engineers need?

Energy Engineer Skills
Energy Engineer Skills, Image Courtesy of AdobeStock

Energy engineers need both technical and technological skills in order to be successful in the industry. The technological skills include:

Creativity and problem solving is the essence of engineering and thus energy engineers should be creative problem solvers. Developing critical thinking skill is a must for every engineering student. Energy engineers (energy technology engineers) also need to possess commercial awareness of the global energy market and energy policies and maintain knowledge of the latest industry trends.

In addition to effective technical skills, an energy engineer needs to have creativity, management skills, verbal and written communication skills and the ability to work in team.

The modern world runs by energy and the demand is increasing at a rapid pace and energy engineers are working to meet the demand by designing renewable energy systems (such as solar and wind power plants), optimizing existing energy systems, and researching and designing new renewable technologies and methods. The society needs energy engineers for an energy-sufficient and a greener future.

Aimal Khan is the founder & CEO of Engineering Passion. He is an engineer and has obtained his bachelor's degree in energy engineering from Kandahar University.