Examining the Future of Green Engineering Jobs

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

At EETimes' Green Engineering Summit, industry experts will weigh in on whether green engineering initiatives will open a path to well-paying jobs—and what skill sets these new jobs require.

Politicians like to talk a lot about the new well-paying jobs that green engineering initiatives will create in a bid for a decarbonized society. Strangely, there is hardly any talk about these new jobs in engineering forums.

During EE Times’ Green Engineering Summit, which is taking place virtually today through Thursday, a panel discussion planned for Sept. 15 titled “Alternative energy sources and related energy storage technologies” provides an opportunity to address that. The details about new engineering jobs in the renewable energy sector are high on this panel discussion’s agenda.

Take, for instance, the Climate Change Bill that aims to build the infrastructure for renewable energy in the coming years. Will it actually create hundreds of thousands of engineering jobs in solar, turbine and other areas? Some industry experts estimate it will create 9 million new jobs in the United States in the next 10 years.

The next logical question concerns the shape and form of these future jobs. Also, given the current technology and market momentum, which clean energy area is likely to be ripe with engineering jobs first? More importantly, what kind of technical skillsets will these new jobs require? Here, the panel will try to have some definitive answers from green energy industry experts participating in the panel discussion.

One panelist—Texas Instrument’s Henrik Mannesson—works in areas like smart meters, solar energy, electric vehicle (EV) charging and grid automation. He will provide a first-hand view of jobs in these areas and what skillsets engineers need to acquire to qualify for these jobs.

Efficient Power Conversion CEO Alex Lidow, a power design industry veteran,  will provide a specific perspective on new jobs in renewable energy sectors served by gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors.

Another panelist, Patrick Le Fèvre, has also been involved in wide-bandgap (WBG) technologies like silicon carbide (SiC) and GaN as part of technological initiatives to reduce energy consumption. Besides WBG technologies like SiC and GaN semiconductors, energy storage systems can serve as another reference point for new green engineering jobs. Here, Infineon’s Shri Joshi will share his viewpoint about new jobs in renewable energy storage systems.

Solar water pump (Source: Infineon)

The panel will also delve into where renewable-based energy storage systems stand in actual implementation, especially in smart grid environments. The talk about energy storage systems will inevitably bring into the limelight specific design issues like power conversion, energy efficiency and battery voltage ranges. Each renewable energy premise will also provide a window into what skills engineers need in this new technological paragon.

Finally, while the panel will attempt to figure out which renewable energy technologies are gaining traction and those that are being pushed aside, it could also provide engineers with a crystal ball for which areas they must focus on as part of their future career planning—and get the ball rolling for acquiring necessary skillsets in those specific areas.

 

This article was originally published on EE Times.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.

 

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