The Trump administration has promised to bring back coal jobs, but the future of work won’t be fossil fuels. No, renewable energy is where it’s at, if you’re looking for a job in the energy industry.
Sound intriguing? If so, it might be a good idea to learn some skills related to solar and wind power.
Where the Jobs Will Be in 2026
The Atlantic notes that “clean-energy workers, like solar-panel installers and wind-turbine technicians, are the only occupations that are expected to double by 2026.” These are industries that got an initial boost from Obama Administration support, even though sweeping legislation on energy efficiency didn’t pass through congress.
While the clean energy industry has been boosted by big subsidies on wind and solar power, it’s still up to state and local governments to pass supportive legislation to promote renewable resources and the jobs that help them. The National Conference of State Legislatures notes that “states are recognizing the benefits of wind energy as a renewable energy resource that can diversify energy portfolios, meet renewable portfolio standards and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
So if you want to find one of these rising jobs, look at state and local governments that are already wind- and solar-friendly — including places like Hawaii, Idaho, Delaware and Washington state.
Innovation Is the Name of the Game
Wouldn’t you love to be a part of something that ends up being a global game changer? Don’t think about green energy as just a fossil fuel alternative. Small innovations are making big impacts around the world. From finding ways to make light without an electrical grid, to running an entire island nation on 100 percent renewable energy in the next decade, the applications are endless.
Tesla is making headlines with its innovations in large lithium batteries that can help supply electricity to communities around the world, including Australia and Puerto Rico. Batteries that can more effectively store and supply the energy that solar and wind can generate are “the missing piece” to the green energy struggle, so says MarketWatch.
Ken Wells writes, “if vast amounts of renewable energy — say, enough to power entire cities—could be captured and stored in giant batteries and deployed when needed, that downside [to solar and wind] would fade away.”
How You Can Get a Foot in the Door
Don’t just think about installation jobs. Working in green energy is about more than just getting training in installing solar power panels or wind turbines (though that doesn’t hurt, either).
Think about all it takes to get renewable resources from idea to consumer. You need lobbyists to change current policy at every level (local to federal), marketers to help influence public opinion, software designers to make the energy capture and transfer the most efficient it can be and electrical engineers to make it all work better year over year.
The key thing to remember is that energy (production and consumption) touches practically every industry out there, no matter if you’re growing beets for a living or delivering a baby. Think about how your chosen (or future) job could be more energy efficient. Then think about how solar or wind could impact your daily life by making energy consumption cheaper and better for everyone on the planet.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you ever considered a job in the renewable energy industry? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.