Wind Energy Engineers
Overview | Related Occupations
| Outlook | Wages | Outlook
| Helpful High School Courses | Preparation
| Related Educational Programs | Licensing
| Additional Sources of Information
- Usually have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering
- Design wind farm layouts
- May work overtime to meet project deadlines
- Have strong math skills
- Work both indoors and outdoors
- Earn $96,400 per year (national median)
Wind energy engineers design wind farm collector systems.
To develop a wind farm, engineers must bring together the right technology (wind turbines) in the right places (open spaces with lots of wind), with good transportation, and a connection to the electrical grid.
When identifying sites for wind farms, engineers calculate wind power density (WPD) to make sure farms will be productive. Some wind farms are even located at sea.
Wind energy engineers use complex computer software to lay out wind farms and to test and operate turbines and other systems. They make models of the system to see if the wind farm will produce the required amount of power.
Engineers also write computer programs or build equipment to control the wind turbines. They develop and test all the components of an energy farm, including gearboxes, generators, and converters.
Engineers oversee the construction phase of the turbines, towers, and substations. They make sure the plant follows rules for safety and environmental impact.
Following construction, engineers test the turbines and systems for strength, energy output, and noise levels.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to wind energy engineers.
- Create and maintain wind farm layouts and schematics.
- Provide engineering technical support to designers.
- Recommend changes to process or infrastructure to improve the performance of wind turbines.
- Investigate new technologies or experimental wind turbines for things such as aerodynamics, production, noise, and load.
- Create models of wind farms, including roads, paths, and substations.
- Use math to develop electronic controls, software, and other systems.
- Test wind turbine components using various equipment. Determine the effects of stress on the system.
- Oversee the work of consultants or subcontractors.
- Monitor wind farm construction to ensure compliance with regulations.
Wind energy engineers perform the following list
of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Use computers.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Process information.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Analyze data or information.
- Document and record information.
- Provide advice and consultation to others.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Communicate with people outside the organization.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Provide information or drawings about devices, equipment, or structures.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Think creatively.
- Develop and build teams.
- Develop goals and strategies.
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Hawaii Career Pathways:
- Industrial & Engineering Technology
Wind energy engineers need
- Read and understand work-related materials.
- Listen to others, understand, and ask questions.
- Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
Reason and Problem Solve
- Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
- Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
- Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
- Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
- Determine how a system should work. Study how changes in conditions affect outcomes.
- Identify problems and review information. Develop, review, and apply solutions.
- Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
- Identify ways to measure and improve system performance.
- Follow guidelines to arrange objects or actions in a certain order.
- Think of new ideas or original or creative ways to solve problems.
- Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
Use Math and Science
- Use math skills to solve problems.
- Use scientific methods to solve problems.
Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things
- Check how well one is learning or doing something.
Work with People
- Be aware of others’ reactions and understand the possible causes.
- Persuade others to approach things differently.
Work with Things
- Analyze needs and requirements when designing products.
MPerceive and Visualize
- Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.
In a typical work setting, wind energy engineers:
- Have a moderate amount of social interaction with others.
- Hold some responsibility for the work done by others.
- Usually work as part of a team.
- Communicate via telephone, email, and face-to-face discussions. They also write letters and memos, but less frequently.
Physical Work Conditions
- Work indoors planning projects, but work outside to scope projects and inspect progress.
- Must be very exact and accurate when performing the job.
- Sometimes repeat the same mental activities.
- Make decisions that strongly affect their employer and clients. This is because they rarely consult a supervisor before deciding a course of action.
- Set most daily tasks and goals without talking to a supervisor first.
- Work in a moderately competitive atmosphere. They abide by strict weekly deadlines.
Hours / Travel
- Usually work a set schedule.
- Usually work 40 hours per week.
May work overtime to meet project deadlines.
Wind energy engineers frequently:
- Sit for long periods of time.
It is important for wind energy engineers to
be able to:
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
It is not as important, but still necessary, for wind energy engineers to be able to:
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
Wind energy engineers need
knowledge in the following areas:
- Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of how to build machines, buildings, and other things. Also includes knowledge of how to use computers, machines, and tools to do work more usefully.
- Mathematics: Knowledge of the rules and uses of numbers. Areas of knowledge include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics.
- Design: Knowledge of making and using plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Physics: Knowledge of the features and rules of matter and energy. Areas of knowledge include air, water, light, heat, weather, and other natural events.
- English Language: Knowledge of the meaning, spelling, and use of the English language.
- Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of computer hardware and software.
- Administration and Management: Knowledge of managing the operations of a business, company, or group.
- Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of providing special services to customers based on their needs.
- Building and Construction: Knowledge of constructing buildings and other structures.
- Mechanical: Knowledge of designing, using, and repairing machines and tools.
- Public Safety and Security: Knowledge of protecting people, data, and property.
- Law, Government, and Jurisprudence: Knowledge of laws, rules, court procedures, and the political process.
Wind energy engineers are people who tend
- Consider achievement important. They like to see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.
- Consider good working conditions important. They like jobs offering steady employment and good pay. They want employment that fits their individual work style. They may prefer doing a variety of tasks, working alone, or being busy all the time.
- Consider recognition important. They like to work in jobs which have opportunities for them to advance, be recognized for their work, and direct and instruct others. They usually prefer jobs in which they are looked up to by others.
- Consider independence important. They like to make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they can plan their work with little supervision.
- Have realistic interests. They like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like to work with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery. They often prefer to work outside.
- Have investigative interests. They like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.
- Have enterprising interests. They like work activities that involve starting up and carrying out projects, especially in business. They like to lead and persuade others, make decisions, and take risks for profit.
Occupational Interest Codes:
Wind energy engineers can
expect a starting salary from $70,000 and upwards.
Analysts expect that the
wind-power industry will continue to grow rapidly. This is due to government
incentives and increased consumer interest.
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A
curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click
here 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
You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high
school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate
(IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses,
you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen
your college application.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this
- Blueprint Reading
- Computer Applications
- Computer-Assisted Design (CAD
- Natural Resources Management
- Probability and Statistics
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
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
and groups that may be available in your high school or community.
To work as a wind farm engineer, you must:
- have a high school diploma or GED;
- have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering
or a related field;
- be curious and detail-oriented;
- have strong analytical skills; and
- be creative.
Most students prepare for this field by earning a bachelor's
degree in mechanical engineering. Many four-year colleges and universities offer
this program of study. You may need between four and five years to complete
Some jobs require a master's or doctoral degree (Ph.D.). For
instance, if you are interested in teaching mechanical engineering at a college
you need a Ph.D. Also, many student engineers go to graduate school to specialize
in one area of mechanical engineering.
In a typical four-year program, classes include math, basic
science, introductory engineering, and social science. Courses may include mechanics
and materials, turbines and engine engineering, and product engineering. You
may also study design and manufacturing and mechanical vibration.
Some two-year colleges have agreements with the engineering
departments at four-year schools. These agreements allow you to take your first
two years of courses at the two-year college. Then you move to the university
for the last two years. Some liberal arts schools have similar programs to prepare
you for engineering schools.
You should consider participating in an internship with an engineering firm while you are in college. It 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, wind energy engineers receive one to two years of on-the-job training. New graduates work under the guidance of experienced engineers. 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.
Licensing / Certification / Designation / Registration
In Hawaii, engineers (except those employed by the federal government) whose work involves the safety or health of the public must be licensed by the Hawaii board of professional engineers, architects, surveyors, and landscape architects. In Hawaii, licenses are offered in seven disciplines of engineering which include agriculture, chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and structural. Licensure requires meeting educational and experience requirements, passing an exam, and paying fees.
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
© Copyright Hawaii Green Jobs Initiative,
LMI Innovation Grant, Research and Statistics Office, Department of Labor &
Industrial Relations, State of Hawaii. All Rights Reserved.