Wind Energy Project Managers
Overview | Related Occupations | Outlook | Helpful High School Courses | Preparation | Related Educational Programs | Additional Sources of Information | Back to Green Careers
Wind energy project managers oversee all phases of developing and building wind energy farms.
Wind energy project managers oversee the day-to-day functioning of wind energy farms while they are being built. They also help engineers plan for new energy farms. However, they focus less on technical items about the turbines or wind sheer. Instead, they focus on how big the farm will be (scope), assigning tasks, determining schedules and costs, and setting goals and deadlines.
Project managers must have a solid knowledge of wind energy. They need to understand the needs of engineers and technicians. However, what project managers need most of all are organizational skills and an eye for details. Scientific knowledge is helpful, but an educational background in planning and administration is essential.
When constructing a wind energy farm, project managers look at potential sites. They analyze environmental studies and civil engineering surveys. This helps them determine the best place to build. They review bids from different contractors to see what companies offer the best services for the best price. Project managers coordinate all construction activities. They oversee the different contractors who work to transport and build the turbines and substations. They review contracts and budgets to make sure that costs are contained, work is being performed well and on time, and that laws and regulations are followed. They make sure proper permits are obtained and comply with inspections.
Project managers also conduct negotiations about tax agreements and purchasing contracts. Because wind energy farms are usually located on large amounts of land or in the sea, project managers may have to work with private owners as well as local and state governments to negotiate the use of land and air.
- Architecture and Construction
Hawaii Career Pathways:
- Industrial & Engineering Technology
Analysts expect that the wind-power industry will continue to grow rapidly. This is due to government incentives and increased consumer interest.
Helpful High School Courses
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2013 or later. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements. Click here for for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2011 or 2012. Click here for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2013 or later. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Blueprint Reading
- Computer Applications
- Computer-Assisted Design (CAD)
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Click here for examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.
To work as a wind energy project manager, you must:
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- have a bachelor's degree in engineering, business, or an earth science;
- be curious and detail-oriented;
- have strong analytical skills; and
- be creative.
Education after high school
Most students prepare for this field by earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, business, or earth sciences. Because this job combines both technical and planning skills, taking courses outside your major to round out your training is important. This means that if you major in engineering, you should also consider minoring in business.
Consider participating in an internship with a wind power engineering firm while you are in college. An internship offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.
In general, new project managers receive on-the-job training. New graduates work under the guidance of experienced engineers and managers. In large companies, you may also receive formal classroom training. As you gain knowledge and experience you have greater independence and work on more difficult tasks.
Related Educational Programs
- Business Management and Administration
Additional Sources of Information
- "Green Careers: Choosing Work for a Sustainable Future" ($19.95 paper cover, p. 368)
By Jim Cassio and Alice Rush, MA, RPCC, MCC
Publication date: 2009
New Society Publishers
Career Information Available on the Internet
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