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Renewable energy careers are on the rise. Amid a push for clean energy usage around the world, new federal goals for carbon emissions, and an increasing number of corporations setting net-zero goals within the next decade, the previously-niche industry of green energy is quickly becoming ubiquitous across the United States.

Yet, while the rise in these types of careers is taking place, Americans are not always feeling confident about delving into the industry, despite the competitive salaries and upward mobility. This is not particularly shocking, given the long public relations road that clean energy has been on. Take, for example, the mere phrase previously used to describe this “alternative energy.” While it is indeed an alternate mode of energy generation, most individuals associate “alternative” with lesser or supplementary, but that is not necessarily the case.

Education about this industry, these roles, and the important part that these jobs will play for America’s economic growth is crucial if the United States is to meet the goals set by the current administration. 

Photo courtesy of Jason Blackeye

Broadly speaking, a clean energy job is a career or role in the field of renewable energy generation, management, logistics, or installation. Within this green energy family, each source of energy’s roles is different, requiring varying skill sets, training, and knowledge. 

The most rapidly expanding sub-industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019 report and other, non-government entities estimates, is wind power. 

Wind power is a (mostly) land-based form of renewable energy harvesting, whereby large wind turbines’ blades, reminiscent of windmills, rotate through naturally-occurring wind, capturing the power generated by the movement and putting it onto a linked power grid. 

In 2019, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute released a report, denoting that over 611,000 Americans were working in clean energy jobs, with 111,166 of those being in wind. 

Energy from wind is the largest renewable energy method in the United States, accounting for over 300 million megawatt-hours per year as of 2019 – surpassing the previous sustainable energy generation mode of hydroelectric power, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent analysis outlet. Wind energy as a mode for electricity generation has grown up to 15% year-over-year, representing a burgeoning option for job seekers. 

Wind energy jobs can include service technicians, support specialists, operations specialists, troubleshooting technicians, energy analysts, and more. These roles are essential for the continued success of clean energy, but also are a new market, growing faster than other industries, and expected to see continued growth through the 2020s. Employees who gain the crucial knowledge of wind energy’s careers in the early part of this decade may see more senior roles and a high return on their career investment, as the U.S. pushes past 2030 and towards 2050 goals, demanding a workforce with multiple years of industry knowledge. 

Engineering, equipment and operations management, and computer software skills are all heavily sought after within these roles. 

Photo courtesy of Gustavo Quepon

Wind energy jobs are slated to see a huge boom in the 2020 – 2030 decade, growing at a rate “much faster than average” according to O*Net Online. The outlet’s predictions for job growth in wind energy are slated to grow as much as 60.7% by 2029. 

The sustainable mode of energy collection has yet to be perfected, and like all modes of power, faces challenges. However, a clear path forward set by the government, pledges made by some of America’s largest companies, and a desire for a longer-lasting, cleaner planet combine to make wind energy one of the hottest job markets in the U.S.  

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