Renewable energy is key to tackling climate change - and an important part of Scotland’s economy
Rising concern about global warming is driving governments’ initiatives to increase the proportion of renewable energy generated - and influencing consumer preference when it comes to choosing an electricity supplier.
The electricity system has three stages: power generation, transmission and distribution, and supply and sales. Generated power is fed into the distribution network and purchased wholesale by the energy suppliers, or retailers, who sell it to the consumer. The largest energy companies are involved in all these stages, but smaller companies will operate in just one of these areas. Read more about how the sector operates here:
Renewable tariffs offered to consumers by energy suppliers include sustainably-generated electricity.
Green electricity tariffs (Centre for Sustainable Energy)
According to Carbon Brief, in 2022 for the first time more of the EU's electricity came from wind and solar power than any other source.
Onshore wind is Scotland’s biggest single renewable technology. Offshore wind, hydro and solar are Scotland’s other major sources of renewable power. Offshore is anticipated to make an increasingly large contribution: a report by the Offshore Wind Industry Council predicts a significant increase in jobs in the offshore wind sector by 2030.
What it's like
Whatever energy technology you are working in, for many roles the core skills will be the same; mechanical engineers, for example are needed across the sector. Some companies, for example wind turbine manufacturers, will have a very clear and direct commitment to renewables – but even many of those large companies traditionally associated with hydrocarbon-based energy production are now diversifying into renewables or planning to do this. When you are deciding which companies to apply to, you will take into account the extent of their commitment to renewables.
Besides the design and manufacturing engineering roles associated with developing and maintaining renewables technologies there will be roles associated with the planning and operation of sites, and business roles such as HR, finance and marketing. Read more about the range of roles here:
Renewable energy careers (Prospects)
Read this account of a law graduate's progression to a career specialising in renewable energy and green issues:
Find companies working in renewables
In Scottish Renewables' directory of member companies you can search for potential employers in different renewables sectors - onshore and offshore wind, tidal, solar, hydro, low carbon heat:
Renewable UK also has a membership directory:
- Scottish Offshore Wind Directories
- Scottish Development International - Offshore wind
- Wind turbine manufacturers | Windpower Monthly
- Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology – filter by technology or by business area