Design & planning

Energy engineer

Energy engineers work on the research, design and construction of power generation plants, and may be involved in drilling for gas and oil.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £80,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Energy engineer jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You may work on gas and oil extraction and producing energy from renewable or sustainable sources, like:

  • hydro – water
  • solar – sunlight
  • biomass – plants or plant materials
  • wind power

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • researching and designing new generating sites
  • deciding on the best locations for sites
  • planning and overseeing production programmes for sites
  • managing and coordinating teams of technicians or site workers
  • designing and selecting equipment
  • meeting environmental standards, like carbon reduction targets
  • finding the most cost efficient and productive processes
  • carrying out laboratory experiments 
  • converting experiments into large-scale industrial processes
  • working with geologists, geophysicists and specialist contractors
  • managing projects and budgets

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You can do a degree in an engineering or a scientific subject. Some employers may expect you to have a postgraduate qualification.

Relevant subjects include:

  • mining or petroleum engineering
  • energy engineering
  • Earth sciences
  • environmental engineering
  • renewable or sustainable energy

If you're interested in postgraduate research and want to continue your studies up to PhD level, you may be able to apply for a course like an EngD.

These courses are offered by the Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy. You would be sponsored by a company to research offshore technologies for wind, wave and tidal power.

You'll usually need:

  • 3 A levels including maths and either biology, physics or chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing a degree apprenticeship in power or nuclear engineering.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

Further information

You'll find more on energy engineering careers from the Energy Institute, National Grid Careers and Talent Source Network.

£20,000 to £80,000

Starter salary: £20,000 to £30,000

Experienced salary: £35,000 to £60,000

These figures are a guide.

40

You’ll work 40 hours per week in office-based design or research jobs. If you work on a site like an offshore wind farm or drilling platform, you may work on a shift basis, including nights and weekends.

If you work onshore, it’s usually in offices and laboratories with visits out to sites. Some jobs may involve international travel and long stays away from home.

With experience, you could move into planning, policy development, or freelance consultancy.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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